The mediator is a neutral third party who facilitates communication, or a discussion, between the parties with the goal of resolving the issues in dispute.
Without deciding the issues or imposing a solution on the parties, the mediator enables the parties to understand the issues, to discuss possible solutions and to reach a mutually agreeable resolution.
The Circuit Courts and the Family Courts in West Virginia are incorporating mediation into most cases. The goal of the courts is to enable the parties to reach a mutually agreeable resolution to their dispute in lieu of the judge or jury making the decision for them. In fact, most cases are resolved in mediation.
Significant benefits of mediation include:
- Parties have more control over the outcome in mediation than they have in litigation. When a matter is resolved in mediation, it is the parties who will have made the determination as to how the matter is resolved, and not individuals on a jury, or a judge, who have no real interest in the outcome of the dispute.
- Parties in mediation are also able to address issues in an effort to deal with and avoid future disputes among the parties. Mediation helps to foster communication between the parties and to potentially preserve relationships.
- Mediation reduces the costs, stress and emotional toll which often accompanies litigation.
- Mediated settlements can address issues beyond those issues which are the subject of the pending litigation. With mediation, parties are able to craft a resolution designed to fit the unique needs, values and circumstances of the parties.
What are the Costs of Mediation?
The mediator is paid on an hourly basis for her time in the mediation conference and for reviewing the case in preparation for the mediation session. Generally, the mediation fee is split equally among the parties, although the parties may agree to other arrangements.