Mediation in General; and, Mediation With AEP Explained.
“Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate."
John F. Kennedy
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution that has been used for over 2000 years. Its origins date back to Ancient Greece, where there were appointed members of society that would intervene and assist citizens with their disputes. This was done to maintain peace and order within their society. This cultural method of the Ancient Greek peoples has not only remained a valuable part of their society, but has become very popular all over the world in modern time. The United States adopted the method in the 1960s when laborers began to strike and demand better pay and conditions. Because of the success found in mediation with those labor dispute issues, mediation has been adopted by most US Courts. The use of mediation helps to lighten the burden on the judicial system, and resolve conflicts in the earlier stages, rather than moving the cases all the way to the trial phase; which is very costly to parties/courts.
Modern day mediators are far more than village elders calming arguments about cattle. Most mediators are highly educated professionals trained in the art and methods of dispute resolution. They are well equipped to find the issues that are sometimes not the issues the parties are stating, but more underlying issues that needed assistance being discovered and defined. Mediators are able to clarify issues, address them, and assist the parties in discovering unique and customized solutions to their issues. The mediator is always neutral and has the sole goal of ensuring all parties are able to make informed and empowered decisions. The mediator takes full control of the tone and rhythms of the communications, but never the ending result. All results of mediation are determined by the clients.
Mediation is always a voluntary process. This may sound strange, as many litigants are ordered to mediation, but no party is ordered to resolve the dispute. A judge will take on the task of making the final decisions on how a dispute between litigants will conclude, if mediation is unsuccessful at resolving the dispute. When parties are ordered to mediation, they are merely ordered to sit with a professional mediator to see if they can resolve the conflict on their own terms. We, in the world of alternative dispute resolution, believe mediation is the best form of conflict resolution, as no person knows the complexity of a matter more intimately than the parties involved, so they are the best equipped to choose a resolution that best fits the circumstances. A very high number of mediations are successful in resolving most, if not all, issues of a case. Most people have very positive experiences with mediation, and take advantage of the opportunity to make the important decisions themselves, rather than rolling the dice with allowing a Judge or Jury decide their matter. Mediation is also a great way to really understand the other party's position on a matter, and brings to light many issues of miscommunications that have transpired in the past. At the very least, when an agreement is not reached, the parties are far more prepared for court, as the issues have been better defined and all parties are more informed.
Mediation is confidential. There are exceptions to confidentiality, such as discussions of abuse or neglect of a child or elderly person, the planning of committing a crime in the near future, fraud, and things of that nature. Another exception is, if all parties agree to waive the confidentiality. There are other exceptions, but these are the most common examples. Any agreements reached in mediation, put into writing, and signed by parties, can be submitted to the court, and eventually adopted and made a court order. All agreements made in mediation that come to writing and are signed by all parties are legally binding. The parties can choose to have the agreement remain confidential, but most agreements submitted to the court become court record, and therefore public record.
We are the ultimate destination for remote mediation services. We offer a range of mediation services that are designed to help you navigate disputes and find mutually beneficial solutions from the comfort of your own location.
With our experienced mediators and advanced technology, we are able to provide efficient and effective mediation services that are tailored to your unique situation. Our remote mediation services will also allow you to participate in the mediation process from anywhere in the world.
Mediation With AEP Mediation & Notary Services
A party seeking mediation would reach out to the Mediation Coordinator by phone at 1-877-377-1116 (to call), 1-561-334-8812 (to text or WhatsApp), or email at email@example.com, to discuss the issues, the status of the case (whether a case has been filed yet, where the case is within the judicial process, whether or not mediation has been ordered by the Judge, etc.), and provide the contact information of the other party.
The Mediation Coordinator will then act as a liaison between parties to find the best date and time for mediation, and will direct the Plaintiff/Petitioner/Complaining Party to book the chosen date through the website. Once the booking is received, the other party will be sent an invoice for their portion of the payment.
Once both parties have paid the mediation fee, the assigned mediator will reach out to all parties to prepare them for mediation with document request, Zoom link, and any other details necessary to ensure all questions and concerns are addressed before mediation.
Parties will need to create a free Zoom account (takes less than five minutes), and click on the link provided by the mediator to attend mediation on the scheduled date. The parties can do this from anywhere in the world, on a phone, tablet, desktop, or laptop (with audio and visual capabilities); as long as their location is quiet, and private (as mediation must be held in a place where confidentiality can be achieved).
The mediation will begin with an introduction and opening statement by the mediator that includes rules and guidelines; then, each party will be given a brief opportunity to define the dispute from their perspectives. The mediator will then encourage open lines of communication between parties to clarify their perspectives and define the issues, followed by opening the discussion further to suggestions about possible solutions, all while ensuring the discussions remain positive, progressive, and respectful. Once the negotiation phase begins, the mediator will compare the offers and clarify where the remaining obstacles are and encourage further discussion, with direction. The ultimate goal of the mediator, in this phase, is to assist the parties in understanding the process; ensure all parties feel empowered and respected; ensure all parties have a realistic idea of what possible outcomes could result from going to trial; and lastly, helping the parties decide whether or not coming up with their own solutions is the best option. At this point, it is usually pretty clear if good progress is being made, and if so, the mediator will start to itemize agreements reached and issues unresolved. About 90-100 minutes into the mediation, the mediator will need to touch base with parties to clarify if they will want to memorialize (put into writing and formalize) agreements reached. If a full or partial agreement is reached, the mediator will draw up the agreement on a template created specifically for the dispute being mediated. Once parties review and approve the agreement(s), they will receive their own unique links to electronically sign the agreement(s). If the parties have many issues to resolve, and feel there has been good progress, but are left with remaining issues, they are encouraged to book an additional mediation.
After mediation, the parties will receive a copy of their formally drafted, legally binding agreement (which includes a Certificate of Authenticity of eSignatures), and a mediation report to submit to the court. If parties do not have a case filed with the court, they can use the mediation agreement in court at a later date, where a judge can ensure enforcement of agreement/s reached.
Please see the video below, for more information about using Zoom, if this will be your first time doing so.