What mediation is
Mediation is a negotiation process between two or more parties with the goal of arriving at a mutual agreement. It is a voluntary process in which an unbiased, neutral third-party mediator assists with settlement talks. Any agreement the parties reach is voluntary. The mediator does not act as a judge, or decide the dispute, but rather helps the parties reach an agreement. If the parties involved do not reach an agreement, they lose none of their rights to proceed to court.
Benefits to Mediation
Every time a dispute is peacefully resolved, everyone benefits. Relationships are improved, and communities are strengthened.
Allows the parties to be in control of the outcome
Informal, confidential process
Saves time, money, and additional conflict
No rights to proceed to court are waived if an agreement is not reached
Much faster process than litigation
High rate of satisfaction and future compliance
What types of disputes can be mediated?
In Greenville County, mediation is required in civil cases in Circuit and Family Court before the case goes to a judge or jury for final disposition. However, people can mediate most any dispute, even before it goes to court, in addition to Circuit Court types of cases (i.e. contact disputes, injury, etc.) and Family Court cases (divorce, property division, child custody, visitation, and support issues). The Upstate Mediation Center also mediates Magistrate Court types of disputes, family disputes, employee/employer disputes, home owner association conflicts, property, nuisance complaints, and lawsuits under $7,500. Call us to find out if your dispute is good for mediation.
What to expect at mediation
Mediation generally begins with each party in a separate room. Parties are brought together only at both parties’ request. The mediator begins by explaining the mediation process and answering any questions the parties may have about mediation. From there, the mediator will work to address any and all issues requiring mediation. This allows each party to express all of their concerns to the mediator so that a comprehensive agreement can be brokered.
The role of the mediator
The mediator assists and guides the parties toward their own resolution. The mediator does not decide the outcome, but helps the parties understand and focus on the important issues needed to reach a resolution. Mediators are skilled at sifting through the facts, emotions and individual interests of the parties involved to determine what the issues are while maintaining an unbiased perspective. The mediator can offer creative approaches and innovative ideas that allow the outcome to be decided by the parties.
How does mediation differ from arbitration?
- Arbitrator decides the matter like a judge
- Parties are not in control of the resolution
- Mediator helps the parties by facilitating communication of issues and ideas between the parties
- Parties ultimately are the ones who decide the matter.
Why is mediation less expensive and faster than litigation?
Mediation usually proves less costly and time-consuming than litigation because:
- Mediation process focuses on solutions at the beginning
- No attendant costs and exhibit preparation costs
- Parties do not need to engage in lengthy court proceedings
- Conflicts that may take years in court, can be resolved at a fraction of the cost through mediation
Is mediation confidential?
Yes. The mediation itself is confidential in that the mediator cannot be subpoenaed into Court to testify as to what was said during mediation. This allows the parties to openly discuss issues without threat of having this information repeated in Court.