The Top 5 Misconceptions About Mediation
Mediation is quite common for resolving disputes, but there are many people who hold misconceptions about the practice. In order to alleviate some of those doubts, we’d like to discuss and dispel some of the most-common mediation myths out there.
“Considering mediation is a sign of weakness.”
This belief is based on the misconception that agreeing to mediation means at least one party is unsure about the strength of their case. In reality, mediation in designed to allow the parties to engage in constructive communication, to look at different solutions to the dispute with the help of a neutral third party, and to save the time and money that a long, drawn out court case would require. Mediation does not require one party to “give in,” nor does it prevent them from presenting their case’s strengths.
“Mediation is not fair to parties with minimal negotiating skills.”
Mediation actually provides all parties an equal opportunity to reach an equitable solution. The mediator will help both sides exchange information, and has a professional duty and responsibility to protect both parties during the process. Additionally, parties are not obligated to agree to anything during mediation, and are free to withdraw at any time for any reason without consequence.
“Mediation is no more than a waste of time that causes delays in the resolution of the case.”
The process of mediation is actually rather timely in nature, and in reality, has the potential to help the parties avoid the need to spend time preparing a case and litigating it in court. In many cases, it is possible to schedule mediation around the parties’ work schedules and even on weekends. Because of the fact that mediation is used to resolve disputes prior to a lengthy court battle (and are scheduled far in advance of any court dates), concerns about delays are minimal at most.
“The parties are able to negotiate a solution without the involvement of a mediator.”
In fact, parties actually increase the potential for reaching a settlement through mediation. Mediators work with the both sides in order to help them understand the benefits of reaching a mutual agreement and resolving their conflict. A neutral third party is often helpful in resolving contentious situations when both sides are at a stalemate.
“Clients must file for litigation before they are allowed to access mediation.”
In many cases, it is quite possible to conduct mediation prior to filing a lawsuit. In fact, there are some cases where a contractual agreement requires that mediation must be attempted before the parties can file a lawsuit. In other cases, both parties may simply agree to attempt mediation after a dispute has arisen in order to avoid litigation.
By Jeff Rasansky.
Mediator in Dallas, Texas.