Mediation is the most common process of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to legal issues.
Whether in or out of court, it is always possible to resolve a conflict through mediation and settlement. Because mediation is confidential, the parties are free to discuss all issues and consider any settlement offer, without fear that settlement negotiations will be used as evidence against a party in court. Mediation can be informal, and can give the parties the opportunity to talk to each other about solutions to a common problem.
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Sometimes, mediation is the first time parties meet. Generally, mediation starts with an introductory opening session with all parties in the same room. During the introductory session the mediator makes opening remarks, and the parties usually have an opportunity to make a general statement of their claim or defense. After introductions the mediation or either party may request to have confidential discussions with the mediator, without the other party being present. Such conversations, called 'caucusing', simply means that the parties to a mediation choose to be separated into groups. During a caucusing session, the mediator will meet separately with each party (and their attorney), and the mediator will present offers to the parties. The parties to a mediation may stay in the same room, caucus, or a combination throughout the mediation session.
Often times, mediation can be a more favorable outcome to both parties and can be a more cost effective resolution to legal issues.
Christophe Fiori is a Florida Supreme Court certified family and circuit mediator. As a mediator, Chris is an impartial neutral third-person, present at the mediation to ensure that the participants reach agreements in a voluntary and informed manner.
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