how the process works and how we can help
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a confidential and informal meeting in which one (or more) neutral third party helps disputing parties to reach a mutually acceptable resolution. Although mediation is not a legal or judicial proceeding, the results are legally binding if the parties reach a written agreement. It is an effective way to resolve any type of dispute.
The mediation session begins with each party stating his or her side of the case. At Dispute Resolution Services of North Texas Inc., most cases are heard by two mediators. After each party has shared their information, then the co-mediators facilitate the exchange of information in an effort to find areas of agreement. Each party is encouraged to bring all documentation relevant to the case in order to facilitate the process. If the mediators feel that a private meeting would be more productive, they will move the parties into separate rooms and continue the mediation in “caucus”.
The ultimate goal of the mediation is to resolve the dispute, with the parties entering a written, legally binding agreement to settle the case. For cases that are court-ordered or part of an active court case, the parties will need to file the agreement with the Court, in a format that meets the requirements of the Court. Generally, this is done by one of the parties’ attorneys, as agreed upon during the mediation session.
Mediations are scheduled for half-day sessions which can start in the morning beginning at 9 or 9:30 AM or in the afternoon beginning at 1 or 1:30 PM. If you feel your case will need more than a half-day session, please discuss this with the assigned Case Specialist and we will do whatever we can to accommodate your needs.
What is the Role of The Mediator?
The mediator acts as a facilitator to encourage discussion and negotiation between the parties. The mediator uses several methods to accomplish a productive session: setting and enforcing ground rules, acting as a timekeeper, gathering information through questioning and clarification, and encouraging a respectful dialog while allowing emotional ventilation to take place.
At Dispute Resolution Services of North Texas Inc., most cases are heard by two mediators who are selected by the assigned Case Specialist. Our volunteer mediators are trained according to the applicable state statutes and offer a vast array of professional backgrounds and experience. If you would like to select a specific mediator to hear your case, please review the information on Level II mediations.
It is important to understand that mediators are not allowed to give legal or other professional advice (even if he or she is an attorney, CPA, counselor, or other professional). Parties are encouraged to obtain legal counsel and to consult with other professionals as determined by the specific elements of the case. Each mediator is bound by a Code of Ethics, which requires the mediator to refrain from offering legal or professional advice to any parties. In addition, mediators are required to serve as neutral third parties and may not impose any decision on the parties. Any agreement reached will be as designed and intended by the parties.