Lawyers and non-lawyers alike can serve as mediators.
Unlike representing one party in a dispute, or acting as a judge tasked with declaring one party a winner and one party a loser, the mediator's job is to help bring the parties together to a mutually beneficial decision.
Few jobs allow a professional to use both caring and intelligence to help parties analyze both their interests and concerns while seeking resolution, settlement, reconciliation, and closure.
Mediation is a voluntary process in which two or more parties involved in a dispute work with an impartial and neutral party. The goal of the mediator is to safely facilitate and provide tools, constraints, and rules, that will allow all parties to individually come to a resolution efficiently.
With mediation, confidentiality, control, impartial, and neutral for all parties is essential!
This will allow for something new to be learned - creating space. Having someone not directly involved or have a stake in the situation will provide a clear perspective to all parties in dispute to resolve their conflict.
Mediation in many cases can be a desirable option.
An alternative is litigation - which is expensive. Not only will it cost money, it will take extensive time with court hearings. However, those who are looking for a clear “winner” or “loser” should strongly consider litigation.
In my experience, most people want to retain control of their own decisions by fixing the problem fast, so they can move on and have a resolution without having to go to court.
You have a right to litigation, but mediation, especially on sensitive and important issues like child custody and equitable distribution, has clear advantages.
The litigation alternative will place sensitive and important decisions in the hands of a judge who is oftentimes overloaded with cases and has a small amount of time and limited information to make a "winner" and "loser" decisions.
Don't worry, mediation with your attorney is totally acceptable, but you get to choose!
Mediation puts you in control.
However, a good mediator knows his or her limitations and advantages and disadvantages.
Here are a few potential disadvantages,
- Mediation can delay a regulatory process;
- Because of privacy mentioned, it can be perceived as converting a public process to a private one;
- The decision may not promote the public interest - which could be an issue when dealing with land use;
- Litigation could be brought from an interested party that did not participate in the mediation;
- Legal principles will not be created from mediation.
With that being said, you are still in control!