Dispute Resolution Center of the Wabash Valley, Inc.
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Mediation


Mediation is a process designed to help parties resolve their own dispute without going to court.  In mediation, a neutral third party (the mediator) meets with the opposing sides to help them find a mutually satisfactory solution. Unlike a judge or an arbitrator, the mediator has no power to impose a solution. No formal rules of
evidence
or procedure control mediation; the mediator and the parties usually agree on their own informal ways to proceed.


Why Consider Mediation?

If you've given up on negotiating a settlement of your dispute directly with the other party, mediation may be the most painless and efficient way to solve it. Mediation is quick, private, fair, and inexpensive compared to a lawsuit. Mediation sessions are usually scheduled within a week or two from the time of a request -- and most sessions last only a few hours or a day, depending on the type of case. In contrast, lawsuits often take many months, or even years, to resolve.

Mediation is particularly valuable when your dispute involves another person with whom you need to deal with in the future.  This may include co-parents or other family members, co-workers, business partners, your landlord, neighbors, or others with whom you have a continuing personal or business relationship. Lawsuits can polarize and ultimately ruin relationships, so a huge advantage of mediation is its ability to get a dispute resolved without destroying a relationship.

Another advantage of mediation is confidentiality.  The mediator cannot be subpoenaed to reveal what the parties said during the course of the mediation.  By contrast, one of the drawbacks of going to court is that, by and large, everything said or submitted in connection with a lawsuit becomes available to the public. So whether your desire is to protect your trade secrets or just to avoid airing your dirty laundry in public, your privacy will be substantially greater with mediation than with litigation.  (With limited exception:  a mediator, just like any other person, is required to report criminal acts and child abuse to the appropriate authorities.) 

Agreements reached through mediation are also more likely to be adhered to than those imposed by a judge. When parties to a dispute go to court, the losing party is almost always angry and often looks for ways to violate the letter or spirit of the judge’s order.  Most people simply don’t like being told what they have to do, especially by a judge.  In contrast, studies show that people who have arrived at their own solutions through mediation are significantly more likely to follow through with them.  Instead of handing the control over the way the dispute is resolved to the judge, the parties retain control over the way the dispute is resolved.  

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