One of the most frequently asked questions I get is why should a person choose mediation? To be honest, this is my favourite questions to answer because I get the opportunity to tell people about the aspects of mediation that I love.
When I get asked, why mediation, my initial thought is, why not? To provide a scholarly response, mediation is a non-adversarial alternative dispute resolution approach to working through conflict between two parties. But what does that mean in plain language? Well, gone are the rigid formalities of other options available when trying to resolve a conflict. A good mediator is neutral and fosters an environment where both parties can work together to find a common ground, where both parties are equal and feel as though they can speak openly and honestly. This safe space empowers parties to voice their concerns and needs and to feel as though they have been heard.
Another reason to mediate is that the decision-making power is in the hands of the parties. Yes, there is always a mediator present and provides information and guidance, but the mediator is not the one making the decisions. Therefore, those participating in mediation can own the outcome and hopefully feel empowered to make decisions going forward, as they come up. When weighing your options about whether to go to court or mediation, it is important to understand that the decision-making power is placed in the hands of a judge when in court. Don’t get me wrong, courts have a place and are absolutely needed in certain circumstances, and I am not shy to tell potential clients when I feel that they should really be working through their conflict with lawyers. However, courts are not needed for resolving every conflict.
Generally speaking, meditation is efficient and less costly than other conflict resolution options. Once parties agree to mediate, the whole process typically does not take as long as the courts. For example, mediation resolves the issues of long waiting periods until your next court ‘date’ or ‘appearance’ and the expensive bills. Choosing mediation addresses these issues whereby parties can start working towards finding a common ground with shorter timelines and with less of an impact on their finances.
Mediation doesn’t try to figure out who was right or wrong in the past but rather it is forward looking. It supports people in moving forward in their new reality. When in meditation the parties can speak to what they feel contributed to the conflict, but the point of mediation is not to figure out who was right or who was wrong. But the focus is the future – how can they get to the point where they can make decisions about the kid(s), pet(s), support etc. Mediation can have positive impact when kids are around, because they will see their parents communicating with one another and able to come to decisions without fighting.
Finally, mediation is not ‘one and done’ – you can come back at any time and work through a conflict that has come up. Decisions are made in mediation with the information at hand, but as we all know, people, kids, and the economy evolve, thus requiring parties to go back to mediation to tweak the decisions made.
Those are just some of the reasons why you should mediate, and I could go on and on, but I honestly believe the process speaks for itself. Have you ever been in mediation? What was your experience like? Please feel free to share your experience(s) with mediation.