Frequently asked questions
Mediation has the ability to help in most situations that involve conflict, big or small. Mediation can save you time and money and coming to a solution can reduce stress. It is confidential and allows everyone involved to explore a wide range of potential solutions. It also allows the individuals involved to make their own decisions and retain control of the decided outcome.
A mediator is someone who is an impartial person who’s role is to structure the process and guide communication between those involved. The mediator assists them in negotiating a resolution of their issues using honest and open discussions. No decision is imposed by the mediator and they do not provide legal advice.
The role of the participants is to arrive prepared and open to the mediation. They will need to be willing to have an effective conversation with the other person, to be clear about their needs and concerns, and to be open to listening to the other side. The goal is to work together to come up with practical solutions that both sides agree on.
Mediation is voluntary, you cannot be forced to mediate an agreement. If you are involved in a litigation, the court may send you to mediation but you are not forced to agree to a mediated resolution.
Mediation may take place anywhere that is an agreed upon neutral location. It is important that everyone feel comfortable, and safe in whatever location is used. At Empowered Results Mediation, we work with clients to determine location and times based on participant availability. It may take place during the day or evening and if required, a weekend.
The length of a mediation will vary based on the number of issues and the complexity of the conflict. Most mediation sessions last from two to four hours, unless there is a strong willingness to mediate in one long session. A five or six hour mediation may be difficult for the participants given the stressful nature of conflict and negotiating resolutions but it can be done and the mediator will provide breaks for participants. Most disputes are resolved in one or two mediation sessions, however some require more depending on the issues. If a resolution isn’t agreed upon after four sessions, the mediator will review with participants to see if moving forward with more session is in the best interest of everyone involved.
Usually it’s only the people directly involved in the dispute, who have the authority to create an agreement attend the mediation sessions. On occasion, if both sides have agreed, layers or a support person may attend with you. All people involved in the mediation need to agree ahead of time who will be in the room. If an outside expert, like a financial advisor is required, all parties will know and agree upon the person in advance.
Mediation costs are generally based on an hourly fee that the mediator will discuss with you in advance. Any additional disbursements such as room rental for the session will be added on top of the hourly rate. The usual practice is for both/all parties to pay equally for the mediation. The hourly rate and disbursements are split between those involved. On occasion, one party may pay the whole fee if it has been agreed upon by all parties. By sharing the cost of the mediation, no participant feels that the mediator is ‘working’ for the other side.
Yes and no, it is very constructive to have parties in the same room together, it allows for a better flow and dialogue to be established and increases the speed of the process. It is also helpful at the start of the process to have everyone together to go over the ground rules and agreed upon issues. The mediator at times may separate the participants to have individual and confidential discussions with each called a caucus. If for some reason you have an objection to being in the same room as the other party, you won’t be forced to. The mediation process can be done with you both in separate rooms in the same location.
Mediation is a highly successful and flexible process, which leads to most mediation cases being settles. The mediator will work hard to assist, but there is no guarantee of success. Success depends on the commitment of both sides to finding a solution. If a mediator guarantees success, they will be more invested in an agreement. This may effect their ability to remain impartial during the process.
Because the mediator will not impose a solution upon you, you do not have to agree with them. You are under no obligation to agree to anything that you are not happy with. Any agreement that is made will be your agreement.
You can. Because mediation is voluntary you have the option of stopping the process. Cancellations and withdrawal from the process will be outlined in your agreement to mediate.
It’s always wise to seek independent legal advice and the mediator will encourage you to do so if needed. However it is not necessary to retain a lawyer to attend a mediation session. Lawyers can attend if both sides agree to their presence. A mediator will not provide legal advice.
Mediation is private and confidential. Generally only the individuals involves know what is discussed during the mediation. They will agree whether these conversations, or which parts will be kept confidential. Confidentiality allows the participants to feel more willing to be open with their discussions, this is an important aspect of the mediation process. The mediator will not share anything discussed during the session, and will destroy any notes taken during the course of the mediation.
No. Aside from your initial agreement to mediate, no formal document will be forced upon you.
When you come to an agreement, your mediator will write up a Memorandum of Understanding or a Mediated Agreement. Depending on the case, your mediator will then direct you to have it reviewed by your lawyers, and you can then sign it with your lawyer to make it legally binding. It can also be used as the basis of a legal agreement. If you chose not to have lawyers review the Memorandum of Understanding, both sides may still agree to sign and abide by the document. This document can be brought forward in further proceedings if the agreement isn’t upheld.