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Overview of Mediation- Call The F.M. Zavala Law Firm to find out if mediation will work for you. (66

Courtesy of: The F.M. Zavala Law Firm, Inc. 

(661) 753-3534


  A. Mediation Contrasted With Traditional Advocacy

§2.2            1.  Basic Characteristics

Mediation is a private, voluntary process in which the parties work together to resolve their differences with the help of a neutral third party participant (the mediator). Because marital dissolution mediation is in an early stage of development in the United States, mediators vary significantly in approach and there is much experimentation with various models and techniques. The underlying principles of mediation, however, are well established.

In the mediation process, the parties act as their own negotiators and decision makers, with the mediator helping to structure a productive approach and providing technical and practical information. Because the parties determine the standards on which a settlement is based, their own sense of fairness becomes the predominant basis for decisions. The parties work collaboratively, increasing the possibility of an agreement that is mutually beneficial. Mediation may be appropriate in any situation in which differences must be resolved. In the marital dissolution context, mediation can help resolve the issues necessary to reach an interim agreement before settlement, to achieve a complete marital settlement agreement, and to negotiate postdissolution issues.

To some extent, mediation has developed as an alternative to traditional advocacy, in which the parties usually rely on their attorneys to formulate goals and tactics, the applicable law is the primary standard, and the approach of each side toward the other is adversarial. These two approaches are merely models and do not describe the approach of all mediators to mediation or all attorneys to dissolution litigation. For example, some attorneys encourage their clients’ involvement in negotiations and make the process of reaching agreement much like mediation. Such attorneys might arrange four-way negotiation sessions that closely resemble three-way mediation sessions. Mediators who are inclined to direct, rather than facilitate, play a role much like that of attorneys practicing traditional advocacy. Such mediators might arrange private, rather than joint, meetings with each party and exercise control over both the process and the result.

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