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What is mediation?

Updated: Jul 21, 2019

This article answers the most frequently-asked-questions about mediation.

Mediation is a private process that helps people resolve conflict. In mediation, you resolve conflict privately and confidentially. Best of all, you control the process.


“The Michigan Supreme Court encourages parties to try mediation because of its demonstrated success in helping parties resolve disputes to their satisfaction. It’s as simple as this: in the traditional court process, when a judge enters a judgment in a case, usually one party wins, and the other loses. In mediation, all parties have a chance to reach an acceptable solution, and it can be a solution quite different from that imposed by a judge.”

What are the benefits of mediation?


Mediation is less expensive and time-consuming than a traditional court process. Mediation is private and informal. You can mediate in any location you choose. You don’t have to go to an overcrowded courtroom. You won’t have to testify in court or be cross-examined. Mediation is non adversarial. Everyone works together to create results.


Why do people work together?


The alternative is horrible. No one wants to pay significant legal fees to go through a lengthy bureaucratic court process and then have a stranger (a judge) make crucial, life-altering decisions for them.


Is mediation a good idea if the other person is difficult to deal with?


Everyone in conflict thinks the other person is difficult. Skilled mediators know how to resolve conflict. Mediators settle disputes and obtain results in situations where no one ever thought they could.


Will I appear weak if I suggest mediation?


Not if you handle it properly. Emphasize the high costs of a court battle; the length of time it will take to resolve your situation in court; the damage it may cause to unintended people (like children or other loved ones); the lack of control you will each have in court; and the fact that the judge may order you to mediate anyways. It makes sense to take a short-cut, save money, and start with a face-to-face discussion. If nothing else, you can share this blog post with them.


When is mediation a bad idea?


Mediation is a bad idea if there is a huge power imbalance between the people involved.


Can we save expenses and mediate the dispute ourselves?


There’s nothing wrong with talking to each other first and trying to resolve the conflict yourselves. Unfortunately, though, that often inflames conflict. People who are engaged in conflict rarely have the ability to remain neutral and keep an open mind.


How much does mediation cost?


Mediators are generally paid by the hour and their hourly rates are roughly the same as what you might expect to pay to an attorney. The benefit of mediation is that you can split the fees with the other person. Mediation also saves you money because you talk directly about the real issues involved. In a traditional court process, your attorneys control the process, and they can argue about procedural matters and other things that you don't really care about.


Do I need to hire an attorney for mediation?


It's not required, but it's advisable. Your attorney does not have to participate directly in any mediation sessions. But before you sign a settlement agreement, your attorney should review it to ensure that you understand your rights . If you hire an attorney, you should hire someone who understands mediation and does not unnecessarily inflame conflict.


Do I lose my rights if I mediate?


You can always reserve your right to go to court.


How do I find a mediator?


You've found one. Contact us.

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