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WHAT IS MEDIATION?
Mediation is an opportunity for people who are having a dispute to talk about their issues and concerns and to make decisions about the dispute with the help of a neutral and impartial person called a mediator. The mediator will work to help the disputants reach a mutually acceptable agreement by encouraging constructive communication, problem solving, and creative thinking. The mediator is not allowed to decide who is right or wrong or to tell you how to resolve your dispute.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE MEDIATOR?
The role of the mediator is a neutral and impartial guide to help reduce obstacles to communication, assist in the identification of issues and exploration of alternatives, and otherwise facilitate voluntary agreements resolving the dispute. The ultimate decision-making authority, however, rest solely with the parties. The mediator does not make decisions for you.
IS MEDIATION CONFIDENTIAL?
Florida law (F.S. 44.401 - 44.406) provides that mediation communications are confidential and privileged if the mediation is court ordered or the parties use a Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediator. Generally, parties are not permitted to disclose mediation communications with anyone else other than another mediation participant or the participant's attorney. However, there are some exceptions to the mediation confidentiality and privilege protections.
IS MEDIATION THE SAME AS A TRIAL?
Mediation is not a trial. In a trial, the parties present evidence and argument so a judge or jury decides the outcome of the dispute. In mediation, the mediator assists the parties as they talk about their dispute to help them find and explore mutually acceptable resolutions of their dispute. At mediation, the parties make the decisions. If you reach an agreement at mediation, you do not have to go to trial.
ARE MEDIATION AGREEMENTS ENFORCEABLE?
If you reach an agreement in mediation, that agreement must be put into writing and signed by the parties. The written agreement becomes a legally binding document (contract), which is enforceable by the court.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON'T COME TO AN AGREEMENT IN MEDIATION?
Mediation is used by the courts; additionally, there are state and local agencies as well as individuals and corporations which use mediation. When it is used by the court, it is called "court-ordered mediations." If you are court ordered to mediation and you are unable to settle your differences, you will go back to court and the judge or jury will make a decision for you.
DOES MEDIATION SAVE TIME AND COSTS?
Since mediation is a discussion between the parties, it can be much quicker than the formal trial process. It may also cost less than going to court in both dollars and stress.
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