Mediation is an opportunity for parties to have a meeting or multiple meetings to resolve all or some of their issues, with the potential to not have to have a trial, hearing or appearing in front of a Judge. A mediator is a trained, neutral party who meets with the parties (and often their respective attorneys) to conduct the mediation. If an agreement is reached, the agreement is documented and typically signed by the parties. If an agreement is not reached, the parties may proceed with their case to hearing or trial.
How does the mediation process start?
Mediation will typically start by the parties volunteering to retain a mediator prior to filing court action or if court action has already began, by court order. Not all districts in Iowa require mediation but it is required in the majority in the State of Iowa.
Does the mediator decide what happens?
No, the mediator does not give either party legal advice. The mediator’s job is to try help the parties reach an agreement. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, the mediator does not make the decisions regarding the case.
Do both parties have to be in the same room?
The parties often will be in separate rooms with their attorneys and the mediator will go back and forth between the two rooms, working with the parties to negotiate a settlement.
Who pays the mediator?
The parties typically will split the cost of the mediation.
How long does mediation last?
There is no set time that a mediation lasts, however, 3 hours would be a general timeframe.
What are the benefits of mediation?
There are many benefits to mediation. One of the best reasons is that it gives the parties a chance to resolve the issue without having to go to court. Many people do not want to enter a courtroom or go through a trial and this is an opportunity for the parties to meet with a neutral person to resolve their issues. Mediation can also save money that would be spent during litigation. If an agreement is reached, it can also reduce conflict and stress that may people experience through the process of trial.