Mediation provides a unique opportunity for two or more parties in dispute to sit down with a neutral third-party and use negotiation skills to generate options and ideas to resolve conflict instead of using the adversarial legal court system. The majority of parties who use mediation are able to reach an agreement, which keeps them out of the court process. Parties that build their own agreement in mediation tend to be more satisfied with the results because it is a outcome they built together as compared to a decision imposed on them by a judge. The parties own agreements tend to last over time, because it is something they built together and not imposed on them, so there is less modifications or appeals involved. Mediation is also more time efficient as cases can be set in a matter of days as compared to months in the legal system. Mediation also saves the parties money as compared to using the court system and paying legal expensive fees. Mediation promotes cooperation and therefore lessens the suspicion of what the other party might be trying to do.
Facilitative mediation is the original style of mediation. Facilitative mediators seek to “facilitate” the negotiation between the participants. The goal is to help everyone achieve their interests and to reach a durable (long lasting) agreement. Facilitative mediators tend to believe that participants can reach lasting agreements if given enough information, time and support. The facilitative mediator usually does not comment on what would happen if the case went to court (at least not initially). Generally speaking, facilitative mediators tend to come from all backgrounds (legal, mental health, etc.)
Transformative mediation is an emerging form of mediation that focuses first on repairing the relationship and then on the resolving the dispute. Like narrative mediation, transformative mediation is a very specific style of mediation. Often transformative mediators will have a mental health background. Be sure to ask if your mediator has training in Narrative or Transformative if that is the type of mediation you are looking for.
Evaluative mediation is concerned primarily with reaching a deal. This style of mediation focuses more on expected court outcome and less on the parties’ interests. Evaluative mediation may be a good choice if you just need to “get it done.” If trial is coming up the attorneys may suggest using an evaluative mediator with the hope of reaching a deal and avoiding trial. Often evaluative mediators will have a legal background.
Narrative mediation is a relatively new style of mediation that focuses on creating a new “story” or a new “narrative” to understand and reshape the conflict. Often narrative mediators will have a mental health background.Narrative mediation is a very specific method of mediation so be sure to ask if your mediator has training in the narrative style.