Q. What is mediation?
Q. What types of disputes can be mediated at CCRC?
Q. When is mediation better than litigation?
Q. Who are the mediators?
Q. How do I initiate the mediation process, or find out if it’s a good
solution for my situation?
Q. What happens next?
Q. Where does the mediation take place?
Q. Is the process confidential?
Q. Who attends the mediation session? Do I need to bring an attorney?
Q. What happens during a mediation session?
Q. How long does a mediation session last?
A. Mediation is a voluntary, informal, and private way to work through a disagreement or conflict between two or more people. The impartial mediators assist the participants to communicate more clearly, sort out misunderstandings, explore all possible options for resolving the issue or issues, and developing agreements all parties can live with and that will stand the test of time.
A. Our mediators are trained to conduct mediations for many types of situations, including but not limited to parenting plans, family communication, facilitations, neighborhood disputes, landlord/tenant, consumer/merchant, small claims, workplace, government/citizen, etc.
A. Mediation is faster, less expensive, and often more effective than litigation when the parties involved would like more input into the solutions. While litigation can go on for years, mediation is usually started and completed in a matter of a few weeks – this applies even to complex cases.
Litigation is “win/lose,” meaning there will be a winner and a loser at the conclusion of the case. The focus of litigation for each side is winning rather than the overall good or continued relationship between the parties involoved. Mediation is centered on the need for people to truly hear each other, and for them to craft their own resolutions, rather than having a ruling imposed by a court. Because each party has input into agreements reached during mediation, it creates a “win/win” situation. And because in life it is often necessary to continue to be in contact with the other party mediation provides a way to strategically define how that contact will occur.
Litigation can be very expensive! The startup cost for many lawsuits exceeds $10,000.00. Mediation through the Community Mediation Center will usually cost less than $500, and we do operate with a sliding scale.
A. Our mediators are volunteers who come from all walks of life and many professions. Each has had a minimum of 40 hours of formal classroom training in mediation and has completed an extensive written examination and practicum. To complete their initial training, they serve a supervised apprenticeship with experienced, certified mediators.
A. The “Contact Us” page will list options for contacting us. Once you’re in contact with one of our intake specialists, he or she will listen to your concerns and questions, then speak with you to help you understand your options.
A. If you wish to pursue the option of mediation, the disputants are contacted by CCRC staff (usually by letter) and asked if they would be willing to participate in mediation to resolve their conflict. If all parties agree, a letter listing each participant’s fee will be sent. If a party is unable to pay the amount listed, they should call CCRC to request an Application for Fee Adjustment. Upon payment of all fees (or granting of waiver), a meeting date will be set and mediators assigned to the case. Participants will also receive written information regarding mediation expectations.
A. Most mediation sessions are scheduled at the CCRC office; however, to accommodate parties who live some distance from the CCRC, or those who require facilities that are handicapped accessible, we are able to arrange mediation sessions at other locations.
A. The cornerstone of mediation is confidentiality. It means that nothing said or disclosed in the mediation session can be used against the participants outside the mediation. There are a few exceptions to confidentiality, which are outlined in the written materials sent prior to the session. In addition, the mediators can’t be subpoenaed or required to testify about the substance of the mediation session.
A. Generally, there will be two mediators and the smallest number of people necessary to make an agreement. *Children, friends, spouses and/or significant others may not attend mediation sessions. Attorneys rarely attend mediation sessions, and then only by prior arrangement with CCRC and with the agreement of all parties.
*Special note: Please make provision for childcare unless it is a case with an older child who is part of the mediation or facilitation. It is not in the best interest of younger children to be involved in the decisions of their adults therefore CCRC will send you back home and reschedule the mediation if your children accompany you.
A. The mediation session will occur in a room that is set up with a table and chairs. The mediators will spend a few minutes giving opening remarks and setting forth the ground rules for the session. If all parties agree to proceed, an agreement to mediate is signed and the session moves forward. Each party is given a few minutes to make an opening statement, setting forth the issues and what they desire as a settlement. This is uninterrupted time to speak, and the mediator will reflect back the information given to make certain that they have it correctly.
Once the issues are identified, an agenda of items to discuss will be formulated. The mediators will then assist the parties to begin negotiating directly with each other. The mediators will not impose a settlement of any kind, but may help the participants “think outside the box” in creating a solution. They may ask some difficult questions to make sure the solutions and their consequences have been thought through, but the results belong to the participants, not the mediators.
When a settlement agreement is reached, it is put in writing and signed by all parties. Each party will then receive a copy of the agreement. Once again, the job of the mediators is to assist in crafting the agreements, not to impose their own ideas on the settlement agreement.
A. Sessions are usually limited to no more than two hours. If the parties are not able to finish in that time, they have the option to return for a second mediation session at no additional charge. In that case, the notes made by the mediators will be placed in a secure location in the CCRC office to be used during the second session. At the end of the mediation, whether it is one session or multiple sessions, the mediators destroy their notes and the case file is closed.