Whether a legal process is involved or not in a conflict situation, mediation can help people to:
A mediator is a person from outside the dispute who is there to assist all parties of the dispute without input of her own opinion or judgment, assisting the disputing people to communicate their points of view, interests and priorities in a calm environment in order to find a mutually satisfactory solution. The mediator's point of view is not important because a mediator does not act as judge or jury and the mediator must keep her opinions out of the meditation.
Mediators are trained to look at a situation from an unbiased perspective, to listen to what each person is saying, to help people explore what their real priorities and needs are and to manage communication so each person can listen to and better understand the other. Through information sharing people can open up the dialogue to alternatives which do not seem to be there initially. A mediator is not only 'impartial', but even more 'multi partial',treating each person involved fairly and advocating equally for all parties. .
Mediation is a voluntary process : even in a court ordered mediation, no one is obliged to make any choices. But people are invited to keep an open mind, to express perspectives and opinions calmly, and to listen to the other party without interrupting. It is easy to assume that we know what the other person is thinking or going to say, especially when there is a shared history with that person, but sometimes listening completely to what the other person is thinking can alter those assumptions The mediation process is most successful when participants are willing to keep an open mind and to make an effort in good faith to resolve differences as equals.
Mediation is a confidential process.: mediators do not share any information from a mediation, including the names of the parties involved, so your privacy will be completely protected. Information shared during a mediation cannot be brought into evidence in any trial or hearing if it is not information that is discoverable or already known publicly or to the parties involved. Parties to a mediation are also encouraged to keep the details of a mediation confidential to all except those having a need to know for carrying out the solution.
Outcomes of a mediation :
If an agreement on the resolution of the dispute is reached during mediation, it is advisable that it be documented into a Memorandum of Agreement or scribed into a Mediated Settlement Agreement. In the State of Texas, under the Civil Practice and Remedies Code, Title 7, Alternative Methods of Dispute Resolutions, Chapter 154 Alternative Dispute Resolution Procedures, a Mediated Settlement Agreement which resolves the dispute is "enforceable in the same manner as any other written contract".
If no agreement is reached in mediation, the mediation is closed and, if the dispute was referred to mediation by a court, the only thing reported back to the court is that the parties participated in a mediation and did not settle.
Whether any final Agreement is reached or not, mediation can help improve the relationship between or among the disputing parties. This is especially helpful in situations such as divorce or separation where co-parenting is required despite the separation, in neighborhood or extended family decisions, where the relationships between or among the people involved are ongoing and important.