Why Use Mediation or Collaborative Law
Parties to a dispute often have a compelling interest in settling their differences without destroying their future relationships. Mediation and Collaborative Law, two alternative dispute resolution methods, reduce conflict instead of escalating it at a time when discord may be standing in the way of agreement. Mediation and Collaborative Law employ needs and interests- based negotiation methods, as opposed to the more traditional use of adversarial, position-based negotiation. Each party in a mediation or collaborative law case is assisted in identifying their needs and interests, the needs and interests of the other party, and creative options for agreement on all of the issues that require resolution. Mediation and Collaborative Practice promote and model respect and dignity in the negotiation process, and in so doing establish a blueprint for addressing areas of disagreement in the future. Fran Whyman is committed to using mediation and collaborative law to work with individuals, couples and family members to help them try to reach a comprehensive, fair, and reasonable agreement, without protracted litigation and the exhaustion of financial resources.
The assumption behind mediation is that it is far better for parties themselves to decide on the terms of their agreement than to leave those decisions to someone who does not know as much about their individual needs and concerns as they do.
The Role of the Mediator
The mediator acts as a neutral party in the mediation, not as an advocate for either of the parties, their interests or point of view. The mediator’s role is to assist parties seeking settlement to a dispute to take an active role in the decision-making process. The mediator works with each party to the mediation to help him or her understand and articulate, his or her needs, interests, and concerns and the needs, interests and concerns of the other party. Assisted by the mediator, both parties use what they have learned about their interests to generate options for settlement on each disputed matter. This interest-based negotiation will form the basis for the Agreement. The mediator’s role is to assist the parties in reaching an agreement that is fair and reasonable.
Important Assumptions and Requirements for Participation in Mediation
Participation in mediation is completely voluntary and everything in the mediation is kept confidential. Parties to the mediation must agree to mediate in good faith, which requires full disclosure of all information, including financial information relevant to the dispute.
Length of the Mediation Process
Each Mediation session generally lasts between 2 and 2 ½ hours. While it is impossible to predict how many sessions will be required to reach agreement on all of the issues, parties to a mediation generally save a great deal of time and money by choosing mediation over litigation. An added benefit of mediation is that parties who have reached agreement through mediation often find that they are better able to resolve issues that arise in the future by using the tools they have acquired in mediation.