Preparing for Mediation

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Mediation gives you a chance to negotiate an agreement that resolves your dispute. By preparing for mediation, you can use your time with the mediator more effectively and negotiate successfully. The result will be an effective mediation that may save you money and help you get you the resolution you want!

Prepare your mediation statement:  Give the mediator the information needed to help you and the other parties talk. Your mediation statement must be short (not longer than 5 pages) and clear. The statement must tell who is involved, and the events of the dispute in the order that they happened. Include only documents that you feel are important to reach resolution. List what you want to happen in order to settle the case and why it is important to you. Remember, you are not trying to convince the mediator, you are trying to convince the other side to come to an agreement. Send the statement to the mediator and to the other side at least one week before the mediation. 

This statement and what you say in the mediation is confidential and cannot be used later in court. This confidentiality allows you to share ideas or information that might lead to getting this dispute resolved.

Time and place:  Know where the mediation will take place. Get directions and parking information if needed. Make sure you know when the mediation will start, and how long it might last. Allow plenty of time.

Know What Is Important:

  • To You:  Make a list of what you need to resolve this dispute. What do you care most about? What is less important? This list might be different than what you have asked for in the court papers.
  • To the Other Side:  List what you think the other side needs. What is most important to them? What might be a little less important? Can the other person get some or all of what they want without you losing things that you need? How can their needs be met?

Consider strengths and weaknesses:  List the strong points and weak points in your case, as well as the strengths and weaknesses in the other parties’ case. Plan for how you might work with your weaker points or respond to the other parties' stronger points.

Consider resolutions:  You are there to explore resolution possibilities, not to attack the other side. Your focus should be on the future rather than on the past. Be prepared to listen and to negotiate. Write out possible ways this case could be resolved. Include things that both you and the other side could do to resolve the case including ways that don't involve money.  List the reasons why settling this dispute is important to you and why it may be important for the other side. Remember that only the people involved in a dispute can agree to resolve it (the mediator will not impose a resolution).

Use the mediation worksheet: This worksheet will help you summarize the most important parts of your case. It will also clarify what is most important in the dispute for you and for the other side so you are able to make better decisions at the mediation.

Rehearse:  If you think it may be difficult to express your views in the mediation, try practicing with others.

Write down key talking points: If you think that you may need help to stay focused and remember the points you want to make, create a list that you can bring to mediation, and consider bringing someone (such as an attorney or family member) with you. If you plan to bring someone with you to mediation, you must tell both the mediator and the other party first.

Remember, the mediator is there to help you be at your best: It may make sense to resolve your case in mediation even if you do not get everything you want. Consider all your options and learn about what the next steps in managing your case will be if you do not reach an agreement in mediation. The time and cost of taking your case to trial can be great and may also be stressful.



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