Frequently Asked Questions About Mediation
- What is mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary, confidential process designed to resolve disputes with the help of a trained, neutral third-party called a “mediator.”
- Who are the mediators at CORA Good Shepherd Mediation?
The mediators are CORA Good Shepherd Mediation staff and volunteers who have completed a minimum of 24 hours of mediator training and successfully completed a mediator apprenticeship.
- What is the role of the mediator?
The mediator facilitates the dialogue and helps the parties understand each other’s points of view. The mediator does not make a decision like a judge or arbitrator does. The mediator does not give legal advice or representation. The mediator does not take sides or tell the participants what to do. The mediator is not a therapist or a counselor. The mediator may help the participants to clarify the issues, brainstorm possible solutions, and write out the decisions reached by the participants.
- Do I need to bring an attorney?
No, you do not need to bring an attorney to the mediation; however, attorneys may participate if the parties think it is necessary. Participants may have their mediated agreements reviewed by an attorney prior to signing it if they so desire. As a result of the mediation, you may need an attorney to draft documents involving legal issues such as: filing for divorce, estate planning, wills and trusts, administration, powers of attorney, medical directives, or guardianship.
- What are the benefits of mediation?
- Self Determination – the participants control the outcome. The mediation results in either a mutually beneficial resolution agreed upon by the parties, or no agreement. The mediator does not make a decision like a judge or arbitrator.
- Convenience – mediations can be scheduled at your convenience – during the day, early evening and weekends.
- Confidentiality – mediation is private and confidential. CORA Good Shepherd Mediation and the mediator will not reveal anything that is said or done during the mediation process to anyone who is not present at the mediation. Nothing presented in mediation can be used in any legal proceeding on the matter. That means the mediator would not willingly testify in court in regard to the mediation if the participants do not settle in mediation and subsequently decide to take their issue to court to be resolved. There are some exceptions to confidentiality like suspicion of child abuse, and threats of harm to self or others, or property. Mediation confidentiality is protected under Pennsylvania law (Title 42 Pa Consolidated Statutes §5949).
- Inexpensive – No one is turned away for inability to pay. Some people are eligible for free mediation services. A flat fee per person per session applies for most mediation services. Businesses and organizations are charged a fee based on their total budget size. Individuals are charged a fee based on their income.
- How can I schedule a mediation?
Call CORA Good Shepherd Mediation at 215-843-5413. Both parties must agree to mediate. The Mediation Program does not have the power to subpoena anyone to come to mediation. If you request mediation, CORA Good Shepherd Mediation will contact the other party for you, if you wish, to explain the mediation process and ask if the other party is interested in participating.
- What happens if the other person involved won’t mediate?
You can meet with a conflict coach who is trained to help you make a plan for how to address the conflict with other person involved. This process is called Conflict Coaching.
- What happens if we don’t settle?
The mediator will help you decide what to do next. Mediation does not interfere with your due process rights. You can always take your case to court if it does not settle in mediation. Sometimes mediation opens the door to settlement; even if the parties are not able to reach agreement during the mediation session, they can continue the conversation started during the mediation and reach a resolution on their own later.
- When is mediation NOT appropriate?
- Issues that are not negotiable (e.g., things against the law)
- When there are safety concerns such as in domestic violence situations or if there is fear of violence
- When one of the parties declines the invitation to mediate
- Guilt or innocence is not an issue that is decided in mediation