Mediation is a voluntary, confidential process in which the mediator, a trained, neutral person, assists the participants to negotiate an agreement of the dispute. The participants remain in control of all decisions to settle the terms of any resolution. Unlike going to court, the mediation process is conducted in a private setting with flexible scheduling. Consequently, parties in mediation are less likely to feel stressed and under pressure. The participants make all decisions, not an anonymous judge.
The mediator’s role is to facilitate the discussion and to help the participants find creative solutions to their situation. The mediator remains impartial throughout the process to find common ground for solutions that will work.
The end product from a successful mediation is an agreement that the parties sign and usually file with the court. Once a judge has reviewed and approved the agreement, the agreement itself becomes an enforceable court order.