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What is Mediation and how does it work?

  • 19 Oct 2012

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Legal Mediation is a cooperative dispute resolution process in which both parties work together with the help of a professional independent mediator. Ultimately, the goal of the process is to clearly define what is being disputed in the case and work out all problems that can arise relating to child custody, property and finances.  [1] The mediator is an impartial third-party that works with both sides to hear out the disputes and communicate them in a more agreeable manner. The mediator serves as a negotiator and clearly defines what is in dispute. The mediator also provides different suggestions and options as a means of handling each issue. These disagreements can often be very contemptuous, so it is up to the mediator to help bring a mutually agreeable resolution to the disputes and hopefully dissolve any anger. [2][3] The mediation process is far different from that of a traditional trial. The mediator has no ability to make a legal judgment or offer any legal advice. The mediator’s sole purpose is to offer options for the parties to take. Also, the mediation process can end at any time with or without an agreement being reached. Perhaps the biggest difference between the mediation process and a trial is that the mediated agreement is not legally binding. Once an agreement is made between the parties, the agreement must be sent to the parties’ attorneys for review prior to being submitted for approval from the court. It is only after the Judge reviews and signs off on the agreement that it becomes legally binding. However, if the two sides mutually agree that their original agreement is not working out how they may have liked, they can agree to changes, which can then be submitted to a judge for approval. [4] [5] There are many benefits to using mediation as opposed to a trial. First and perhaps most importantly, by working together, the parties are able to discuss a mutually agreeable option, rather than have one be ordered to them. This means that both parties can be happy with the results. Also, the parties work together and speak to each other face to face as opposed to only communicating through third-party means. This can assist in the issues being far more clearly defined than the alternative. The mediator can provide options that may have not been considered before by either party. Finally, mediation is far less time consuming and less expensive than a trial. [6] Mediation can be an excellent option for many people. While working together and minimizing tensions between the parties, both sides are saving themselves money, time and stress that can accompany a trial proceeding. [1] http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/circuit/mediation/mediation.html [2] http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/circuit/mediation/mediation.html [3] http://maryland-familylaw.com/mediation/mediationfaqs.html [4] http://maryland-familylaw.com/mediation/mediationfaqs.html [5] http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/circuit/mediation/mediation.html [6] http://hzlegal.com/family-law-mediation.php

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