The mediation meeting is the first step in conflict resolution. It is when you and your ex-partner meet with a trained mediator to discuss your differences and try to find a solution. Mediation meetings are often a more successful alternative to going to court. Mediation is a less expensive process, and it allows you to control the outcome of the dispute rather than leaving the decision to a judge or jury who may impose a solution that doesn’t fit everyone’s needs.
During the mediation meeting, each party is encouraged to describe their own perspective on the situation as well as what they would like to see happen as a result of the mediation session. The mediator will then ask each party to state their specific goals for the session and help them develop a plan of action for how they might reach those goals. The goal is for the parties to leave the mediation session with a settlement agreement.
Before the mediation meeting, each party should gather any documents they will want to share with the other party or the mediator. These can include financial statements, tax returns, and any other important information that will be helpful to the dispute resolution process. Some mediators will also send a form that the parties can fill in to help them organize their thoughts prior to the meeting. This can help them save time during the actual mediation session.
At the beginning of the mediation meeting, the mediator will typically introduce himself or herself and provide an overview of the mediation process. This is an opportunity for each party to express any concerns they might have about the mediation process or the mediator’s role in it. It is also a time for the mediator to identify any potential conflicts of interest.
After the introductions, the mediator will usually ask the person who initiated the dispute to explain in their own words what type of remedy they are seeking as a result of the dispute. Then the mediator will ask the respondent or management official to do the same.
Once each person has been given an opportunity to speak, the mediator will move between teams for a series of conversations, suggestions, proposals and counter-proposals aimed at building a resolution that satisfies both parties’ core interests. This process is sometimes referred to as shuttle diplomacy.
It is not uncommon for a mediation to take more than one session. This is because the process can be emotionally charged and a lack of understanding of each other’s position can make it difficult to reach a compromise. It is important that both parties are honest and respectful in the mediation sessions. If not, it may be best for them to continue with legal proceedings rather than trying to resolve the dispute in a mediation setting. In addition, if the parties decide to settle, the agreement should be written up in a formal mediation settlement agreement. This document can be a valuable tool in the event of a future legal dispute between the parties.