What is mediation?
According to the American Bar Association, mediation is a confidential process where a neutral third person will mediate to help the parties discuss and try to resolve a dispute. While courts can mandate certain cases go to mediation, the process remains "voluntary" in that the parties are not required to come to agreement. During the mediation, both parties can describe the issues, discuss their interests, understandings, and feelings; provide each other with information and explore ideas for the resolution of the dispute. Lawyers and courts do not make the final ruling in a mediation. Rather, both parties must agree to the terms set forth.
Mediation can be difficult, so it is important to enter these types of discussions with compromise in mind. Mediation can often take less time than going to court and with favorable outcomes both parties end up being able to live with. Legal documents will be drafted after mediation terms are agreed upon, and can be in an agreement or contract format, which may be enforceable in court.