Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Mediator?
A mediator is a person who facilitates negotiation between two parties involved in a single or complex conflict. The mediator first and foremost is a good listener. He or she should be able to draw people out, balance participation, paraphrase well. It is critical that your mediator have the knowledge and skill to be able to constructively intervene in a way that adds to the process of settlement. Second, a mediator is neutral and that means he/she does not take sides. .The purpose of mediation is to empower the parties to reach resolution; on their own. The mediator cannot resolve the conflict for them. That does not mean a mediator may not tell you something you do not necessarily want to hear. To reach compromise each party usually must reconsider their respective positions. Sometimes changing or moving off a position is difficult; however, a good mediator will not impose judgment or solve the conflict but will help the parties craft a resolution that is agreeable to all.
A mediator does not advocate for any of the parties as an attorney would do. The mediator does not represent any of the participants as pprivate counsel does. Nor is the mediator a judge or arbitrator who will evaluate the information and make a decision for the parties. The resolution comes from the parties themselves, with the assistance of the mediator.
Mediation does not attempt to deprive the participants of their own attorneys. Each participant is encouraged to communicate with an attorney of his/her own choice if he/she feels it is necessary whether at the commencement of the mediation, any time throughout it and at the end to review any written agreement. However, where one participant has an attorney present at the mediation ,and the other does not that usually creates an imbalance that is not helpful to the mediation process. Moreover, if both parties have counsel present that may cause the mediation to degenerate into a legal battle which defeats the purpose of mediation and usually takes away the empowerment and trust that the concept of mediation creates.
So, do not shy away from mediation even if there are complex issues. The earlier you bring your conflict to mediation the more chance it has of resolution because the initial conflict has not been aggravated by the legal system. Take a look at the many articles posted in our site which discuss how many people have found mediation to save them aggravation, undue delay, enormous amounts of money and most of all, has allowed them to feel good about themselves, the other participant(s), their agreement and the future!
Why should I choose Mediation?
- It is a non-adversarial process
- Far less Expensive and Faster resolution than litigation
- You retain control of your resolution
- You get an opportunity to say your side
- The parties reach their own mutually acceptable resolution
- No judgment is imposed by a third party
- The entire process, records, and agreements are “Confidential”
- No Public Disclosure of issues or agreement that you reach
How does Mediation Work?
- Parties speak to identify the issues & position
- Parties clarify what they wish to achieve
- From there on, Mediation can be conducted in a joint session or “private caucuses” with each party
- Mediators help explore/discuss options to see what will work for you
- If settlement is reached, it is incorporated into a “Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)” and signed by the parties
- The “MOU” can be made legally binding by Tampa Mediations
- “MOU” can be reviewed by the Party’s Attorney of choice before made into a “legally binding document”.
What kinds of disputes are suitable for mediation?
Any dispute in the civil arena has issues that can be mediated. Typical mediations deal with issues about business, real estate, the workplace, neighborhoods, landlords and tenants, homeowner associations, families, personal injury, or public policy. There may be legal issues and lawsuits in the case, or there may be no legal action pending.
How does a case reach mediation?
Cases reach mediation in a variety of ways. Cases may be self referred by anyone who is involved in the dispute or by the counsel of any party. Cases also are referred by the courts, law enforcement, elected officials, and public agencies.
Who participates in mediation?
The participants in mediation are the actual parties involved in the dispute and the mediator. There may be only two parties, or there may be a large group of twenty or more. It is not necessary to bring witnesses. If attorneys have been retained, they may be present at the mediation but they are not required to attend. Participants should have full authority to settle the case at the mediation session.
What materials should be brought to the mediation session?
Parties should bring any documents or materials that would be helpful in communicating issues and concerns to each other and to the mediator. Full disclosure of any and all documents requested by the mediator prior to any mediation should be adhered to. Mediation is not a formal legal proceeding so confidentiality is always protected.
Are mediated agreements binding?
The parties can make their agreement binding through Tampa Mediations. Once a an agreement has been made by both parties, a written statement that the agreement is binding will be signed by both parties and thereafter ratified by a court of law if the parties so choose.
How long does mediation take?
A mediation session normally lasts three to four hours. All participants attend the full session although there are typically several breaks and opportunities for private meetings with the mediator. Most mediations are resolved in one meeting, but subsequent sessions can be scheduled by mutual agreement at the close of each session.
My spouse and I are not communicating well, can we still mediate?
Yes. We are trained to help parties negotiate who are having trouble communicating well. If you and your spouse are feeling stuck, it may be the very reason why you should try mediation. This is especially true if children are involved and you will need to be communicating as co-parents for the foreseeable future. While mediation is not for everyone (if domestic violence has been present in your relationship, you are not a good candidate for mediation), our training is in helping people negotiate who are already in conflict.