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Mediation

     In a contested trial, both sides go through a formal and rigorous presentation of evidence. All the relevant information favorable to their side and all the relevant information detrimental to the other side, is presented or introduced into evidence. At the conclusion of the case, the judge or jury renders a decision. Both parties then must live with whatever that decision is. Mediation is different. In mediation, a neutral third party (the mediator) is employed to help the parties explore options and possible ways of resolving their disagreements. The mediator helps in diffusing emotional tension, and communicating information between the two sides in a way that is non-offensive and constructive. A mediator may also be helpful in getting the parties to find and consider options they might not have thought of on their own.  The range of options available for consideration in mediation are much broader and more flexible than those available through trial.
     At the conclusion of mediation, the parties are not bound by a mediator's decision. If the parties can not reach an agreement they are satisfied with, they can always proceed to a contested trial. The odds of reaching an agreed settlement in mediation are quite high. Mediation is also significantly less expensive than a contested trial. Moreover, parties who are able to reach an agreed resolution in mediation are more likely to be satisfied with the outcome, because it is more likely to address their particular situational needs.