Carol Peters as a Mediator
Do you want to resolve a dispute?
Consider mediation: the process where the parties make their own decisions about everything:
- Whether or not they will Mediate?
- If so, what process? when, where, with whom, and how?
- What issues they will address?
- What is the resolution?
- What issues are left unresolved, but better understood?
Only the parties can decide if they want to resolve their differences. If so, then the parties are in charge of their own choices.
The parties make all their own decisions,
~ Not a Judge or Arbitrator.
Mediation is a voluntary process.
The parties make only the decisions they want to make. A Mediator may help to formulate their agenda. But the parties are in charge of its contents and use. No one can force any party to make any decision or change any position or viewpoint.
No resolution is possible without the parties’ agreement: and full participation in the process. There can be no resolution without all parties’ agreement When everyone involved understands how voluntary the process is, the parties are able to resolve their dispute, to move on to other of life’s challenges.
Each party keeps their own autonomy and independence.
Mediators are trained in Process.
- The “facilitative” Process ensures that the Mediator will oversee communications between the parties as a Facilitator. Putting a neutral Mediator in charge of the process assures each party that s/he is able to communicate with a neutral and nonjudgmental Mediator, who communicates with the other parties in a safe and/or neutral manner. The Mediator conveys the content of each message.
- Sometimes the “evaluative” Process is needed, to assist parties in more accurately assessing their issues. When the Mediator evaluates a legal issue, and confidentially provides an opinion of the good points and not-so-good points of a party’s position, to the party and counsel, then the parties can assess the likelihood of judicial success at trial, at what cost by comparing: the litigation fees and costs against the settlement options, including non-monetary remedies, beyond the legal costs.
- Other times the “transformative” Process results in a family’s dynamics becoming improved, sometimes radically, because of an increased understanding of the parties’ different viewpoints. With new thoughts and insights, a new understanding can assuage an old hurt based on misunderstanding, so that the old hurt can be released, with the prior relationship transformed into a new, positive dynamic.
Parties can design their own process.
If unable to decide a specific issue, the parties may be able to establish a more workable relationship by talking first about ‘safer’ topics, such as the procedural issues, about their respective goals and how to get there. Then they will each know more about how they may be able to look together at the disputed ‘hot-button’ items.
The gift of a Mediator is to meet the parties wherever they are in their dispute resolution process.
“If the parties are ‘In Charge’, what is the Mediator doing?”
- The neutral Mediator oversees the process. Such Mediator work leaves the Parties free to address their concerns and to focus on disputed issues. The Mediator works from a process checklist AND the parties’ checklist(s), both, to include and resolve all issues as much as possible.
- The neutral Mediator is involved in the parties’ communications. The Mediator asks and answers questions, may need to ask for clarification, and may even ask for a better understanding. The Mediator receives and forwards messages from one party to another, and back again. The Mediator may meet with everyone together, first, and then with the parties separately and privately, in a ‘caucus’, or in a series of caucuses, or back in a group. The Mediator is more like a Tour Guide than a Train Conductor.
- The neutral Mediator keeps track of the parties’ points of disagreement, so they can discuss and resolve new issues as they arise. The Mediator keeps track of what the parties think about their points of disagreement.
Sometimes by ‘agreeing to disagree’, the parties are able to move on in dignity and friendship, to keep their relationship.
Mediation may resolve all or most of the disputed issues. When specific issues are resolved, those issues are eliminated.
The remaining issues may be:
- Left unresolved though lived with, if the parties agree to disagree;
- Or sent by the parties back to the Judge or a Jury for non-party decision-making by a Trial or evidentiary hearing.
Mediation results in a written agreement of the parties’ decisions. The parties write up their own Agreement, and may write it out themselves or have the Mediator write it out at their direction. If the parties are not represented, and the parties so desire, the Mediator may be able to provide further assistance about the final writing, so that the resolved issues remain “resolved”.
In a CONTESTED COURT CASE, the parties and their Attorneys may write up the agreement. When Mediation is the parties’ last pre-trial opportunity to decide themselves, the parties may decide to:
- Make their Mediation Agreement the Final Judgment of the contested Court Case,
- Which may save Court costs (an additional hearing fee),
- Waive their respective Rights to a Trial, Appeal, et al.
- So that they go into their respective futures with their dispute entirely resolved.