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Mediation is a voluntary and confidential way to resolve disputes without giving the decision-making power to someone else (like a judge). It involves sitting down with the other side in the dispute and a third-party who is neutral and impartial (the mediator). The mediator helps the parties identify the important issues in the dispute and decide how they can resolve it themselves. The mediator doesn’t tell them what to do, or make a judgment about who’s right and who’s wrong. Control over the outcome of the case stays with the parties.

Why Should I Mediate?

A lot of people feel a little overwhelmed by the complexity, cost, and time involved in taking a case through the legal system. They may end up believing that they have not gotten the result they wanted (even if they “win” in court). With mediation, there is an opportunity to use an expert in communication to help the parties resolve the dispute themselves. This approach often preserves both productive business relationships and important family relationships. Since the parties are the ones who know what gave rise to the dispute and what is really important to them, they are the ones who can do the best job of developing a workable solution. Mediation keeps the parties to the dispute in control of the outcome — something that cannot happen if the case is decided by a judge.

What Kinds Of Cases Are Right For Mediation?

Mediation is often successful in cases in which there is, or has been, a relationship of some kind between the parties. This may be a business relationship, a social relationship, or a family relationship. Thus, commercial disputes, contract disputes, neighborhood disputes, landlord-tenant disputes, employment disputes, and divorce, custody, and other family disputes all may benefit from mediation. In addition, complex litigation, personal injury cases, and even public policy disputes have all been handled through mediation successfully. Even in cases in which there is a specific legal issue on which the parties want a judge’s ruling, other issues in the case may be taken to mediation so that those issues can be resolved before the rest of the case goes to trial.

For additional information on mediation and the Virginia mediation certification process, please click here.