Is Mediation a good alternative for us?
by Randall Poff, Mediator and Collaborative Attorney
Mediation is a way of resolving a dispute with the help of an impartial person (the mediator). The neutral mediator helps both of you discuss personal concerns and, if possible, reach a voluntary agreement. The mediator helps you both think about your individual needs and interests, clarify your differences with the other person and find common ground.
- You are the decision-maker: the mediator has no authority to make decisions.
- You determine the issues that need to be addressed: the mediator guides the process and maintains a safe environment.
The mediator uses and helps you to use active listening skills.
- The mediator does not give legal or other professional advice to either of you. The mediator may help you think of options to consider, possibly with the help and advice of another professional.
- Mediation is usually private. If not, the reason why is explained before beginning mediation. You have a right to quit mediation at any time.
- Agreements are reached only when you both agree.
Mediation is sometimes described as facilitated or assisted negotiation. This option works best when the parties are able to sit together and, with the mediator’s help, develop problem-solving solutions on their own. Of course, some families will require more support than mediation provides (see “What is Collaborative Divorce?” page).
Bridges professionals are available to help families mediate their disputes, in a private, neutral and safe process. We have extensive training in negotiation and conflict resolution techniques. Our role is to ensure that the process remains respectful and works to develop “win-win” solutions that might not otherwise occur within the families.