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5 Steps to the Mediation Process

Mediation Process

What is the mediation process?

There are essentially 5 steps to a successful mediation. They are comprised of the introduction; statement of the problem; information gathering; identification of the problems; bargaining; and finally, settlement.


The introductory portion of the mediation is a way for all parties involved to feel comfortable with the matter. The mediator will usually introduce him or herself to the parties and explain the role that the mediator will take, insure that he/she is a neutral individual whose goal is to insure are result that is both fair and just for each party involved. The mediator, if given pre-mediation documents, will give a general statement about what he/she sees as the issue involved. Lastly the mediator will outline what the process will be in the mediation and discuss the protocol that should be followed.


After the introduction the mediator will give each party the opportunity to explain the issue and tell their side of the story. It is imperative at this time that the party not speaking is silent. The entire point of mediation is to come to a reasonable agreement, when parties start bickering with each other the point of mediation is lost.


If they have not already been submitted to the mediator, the mediator will request something in the form of a brief detailing the facts, evidence and any other pertinent information that may help the mediator come to a conclusion. After this the mediator will ask questions of the parties individually in order to flush out reasons, both fiscal and emotional, for why that party has operated in a certain manner or why they seek a certain result.


This step is somewhat self-explanatory. The mediator, through the information received through briefs and previous dialogue will discuss what he/she feels is the heart of the issue.


Once the issue or issues have been determined the bargaining process will begin. The bargaining session is the most creative of the steps. It can involve many different types of focus including group processes, discussion groups and hypotheticals. A common usage is the "caucus." Often the mediator will put a proposed settlement on the table and require the participants to amend the settlement until they come to a reasonable solution. Another route is that the mediator will meet with each party privately to hammer out negotiations. The private meetings are confidential and provide an environment, outside the view of the other party, to brainstorm and discuss emotions and fears.

How long will it take to mediate?

Mediation, in genera will cost between $3,000 and $4,000 which is split between the parties. This includes the cost of preparing documents, the mediator's fees, representation, etc. It is also less time consuming and the average mediation takes about 3-5 days depending on the complexity of the matter. As with anything else, this is a guideline and the cost and time associated with mediation may take longer and cost more. Either way, it is less costly, quicker, and more efficient than going to trial.

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