Monmouth County Mediation Attorneys
What is mediation?
Mediation is a dispute resolution process where an impartial third party, the mediator, helps disputing parties come to an out-of-court resolution. The goal of mediation is to maintain a non-adversarial atmosphere that enables the parties to work together towards reaching a settlement agreement.
Mediation differs from arbitration. An arbitrator renders a decision about the outcome of a case, much like a judge. A mediator, however, does not make a decision about the case. Rather, the mediator serves to facilitate negotiation between the parties and guide them towards a mutually acceptable agreement. Also, whereas arbitration is generally binding, mediation is not. The parties can elect not to reach an agreement at all and proceed to court. If an agreement is reached, the mediator will draft a Memorandum of Understanding or similar document, which will later be used by the attorneys in drafting a settlement agreement for the court’s approval.
The main goals of mediation are to allow the parties to:
- Express emotions and diffuse tension
- Clear up misunderstandings
- Identify the parties’ interests
- Determine underlying concerns
- Locate areas of common ground
- Come to a solution devised by the parties themselves
The Mediation Process
Mediation sessions are often held at a neutral site agreed upon by both parties. The mediator will set out certain ground rules that the participants must follow. The most important rule is that, with a few exceptions, mediation is confidential. In other words, anything said during the mediation process cannot be discussed outside of the process without the parties’ consent.
Before mediation, the mediator will request that the attorneys prepare a brief summary of the issues in dispute. Then, at the mediation session, the attorneys make a brief presentation about the issues from their clients’ perspective. The mediator will then help the parties to compromise.
The mediator may meet with the parties separately for a private discussion if they feel it would help move the parties toward a resolution.
If an agreement is ultimately reached, the mediator will prepare a document detailing the terms of the agreement. The court will be notified that the case can be dismissed. If no agreement is reached, the case will proceed to court.
What Kinds of Cases are Suited for Mediation?
For certain types of cases, the courts can mandate mediation in hopes that the parties will resolve their dispute before going to trial. In most cases, the parties can elect to mediate. Any case could benefit from using mediation to resolve the dispute. Common areas where mediation is often successful include: divorce, child custody, commercial, construction, environmental, Law Against Discrimination (LAD) cases, equity and probate cases.
Disputes involving the following characteristics are often suited to mediation:
- The parties have an ongoing business or personal relationship
- Communication problems exist between the parties
- The principal barriers to settlement are personal or emotional
- Cases involve complex scientific or technical data requiring a particular expertise
- The parties have incentive to settle due to costs of litigation or desired time-frame for resolution
- Parties are seeking a more private forum for resolution
Benefits of Electing Mediation
Some of the benefits to mediating your dispute include:
- Reduction in litigation expenses. Because of the high success rate of settling through mediation, cases are generally resolved quickly, eliminating the need for costly litigation.
- The parties have complete control in determining the outcome of the mediation. The mediator cannot step in and tell the parties how the issue will be resolved. Either party can withdraw from mediation at any time.
Experienced New Jersey Mediation Lawyers
The lawyers at Shebell & Shebell are seasoned negotiators. We help our clients achieve agreeable solutions through mediation. If you must attend mandatory mediation, or think that your dispute could benefit from the process, contact a New Jersey mediation lawyer at 866-957-5237, or contact us online.