Our Mediation Process
How Does The Mediation Process Work?
There are 6 stages of mediation.
- Introductory remarks
- Statement of the problems and issues by the parties
- Information gathering
- Identification of the problems
- Bargaining and generating options
- Reaching agreement
The mediator will wait until both parties are present and then make introductions. The physical setting will be controlled so that no party feels threatened
The opening statement during the introductory remarks will lay out the ground rules for the mediation. These ground rules are what helps the mediation go smoothly. The mediator will usually ask that if attorneys are present, they can concur, but the clients should speak for themselves. Parties should not interrupt each other. The mediator will give each party the opportunity to fully share their side of the story.
Statement of the Problems and Issues by the Parties
Each person is given the opportunity to tell their story uninterrupted. If there are lawyers present who make the initial statement, the clients will then be asked to make their own statements.
The mediator will ask the parties open-ended questions. The mediator will repeat back key ideas to the parties, and will summarize often.
This might also be part of other segments. The mediator tries to find common goals between the parties. The mediator will figure out which issues are going to be able to settle or those that will settle first.
Bargaining and Generating Options / Reaching an Agreement
Methods for developing options may include group process, discussion groups or sub groups, developing hypothetical plausible scenarios. It may include a mediator's proposal where a proposal is put on the table and the parties take turns modifying it.
Once the participants are committed to achieving a negotiated settlement, the mediator will propose a brainstorming session to explore potential solutions. This can lead to a final agreement, which diffuses the conflict and provides a new basis for future relations.
The mediator may also decide to hold private sessions with both parties in order to move negotiations along. This caucus session will be confidential. It provides a safe environment in which to brainstorm and surface any underlying fears or concerns. The goal of this session is to find some common ground by exploring many options, and to bring about possible solutions for the parties to think about. Parties can also entertain alternative solutions to their problems without committing themselves to offering the solutions as concessions.
When an agreement has been reached, the mediator puts its main provisions in writing.
Once an agreement has been made, the parties have a starting point for which to begin different relationships. If all the participants view the process as fair, they are more likely to take the results seriously.