Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution. The term "mediation" means that you and the other party meet with a mediator (a neutral third party), who helps all of you find at a solution to your dispute. Mediation is mandatory in some states and optional in others. The concept behind mediation is that before a case goes to trial, the parties have an opportunity to negotiate their own settlement terms and conditions.
A mediator helps both sides in a dispute evaluate their positions and goals, and negotiate a solution acceptable to everyone.
A mediator does not take sides or make decisions.
If you reach an agreement with an opposing party through mediation, you can make it legally binding by entering into a settlement agreement (an enforceable contract).
Most civil disputes can be mediated, including those involving contracts, leases, and small business ownership.
Businesses and individuals who have begun a lawsuit can try mediation at any point during the lawsuit.
A mediator can't impose a resolution of the dispute on the parties-you always have the right to say "no."
Mediators have experience in bringing reluctant parties to the bargaining table.
Mediation is an "informal" proceeding, and much less stressful than spending the day in the courtroom.
Because the mediator has no power to impose a resolution of the dispute on the parties, the parties must be willing to compromise.
Mediation costs money, and an unsuccessful mediation will result in additional costs of litigation. Costs are usually split between the parties.
Mediation takes time, usually anywhere from a couple of hours to a full day.
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