Mediation provides a way to work out differences while addressing the needs and interests of the participants. Decisions reached in mediation are created by the people who are in conflict, not imposed on them by a judge.
The mediation process:
- encourages direct communication between the parties
- helps people decide for themselves
- allows for the expression of emotions
- defuses anger
- explores creative means of solving problems
- promotes cooperation
- preserves the strengths of an ongoing relationship
- helps people accept the consequences of their own decisions
- develops a model for resolution of future conflicts
In What Cases Might Mediation Be Used?
The types of cases appropriate for mediation include:
Business: Workplace disputes between business partners, co-workers, or supervisor and employee can
Contract disagreements, insurance claims, real estate disputes, construction conflicts, and cases between landlord and tenant, consumer and merchant, and farmer and lender are common.
Community: Cases concerning the environment, land use planning, parking, zoning, and nuisance complaints are often mediated.
Small Claims: Civil cases involving smaller amounts of money or neighborhood disagreements are often sent to mediation.
Divorce and Child Custody: Visitation, property division, alimony, and unique circumstances such as relations with grandparents or stepfamilies can be included. Child custody disputes are automatically sent to mediation in some jurisdictions. Custody and visitation issues are evaluated in terms of the child’s best interests and the parents’ shared concerns. The privacy of mediation can make it easier for people to discuss emotional matters.
Interpersonal: Arguments between individuals may not necessarily involve a legal claim. Roommate and family conflicts are often well-served by mediation.
School or University: Cases such as truancy and disciplinary cases can be mediated between parents, students and school personnel. Some school districts mediate controversies with parents of handicapped students over their plans for meeting the child’s educational needs.
Criminal: Mediation of criminal cases can help unclog the courts and bring about restitution. Direct communication between victims and offenders can be beneficial to both, and can make it easier to deal with the defendant in the future. Cases often go to mediation after the person has been found guilty of the crime. Vandalism, passing bad checks, theft, and juvenile cases are some types of cases sent to mediation.
Justiceworks’ mediators have completed the 40 hour training to meet the national mediation standards and the 25 hour training required by Wisconsin Chapter 767 for family mediators.