Mediation is a process for reaching agreement when two or more parties are at an impass. The mediator serves as a neutral party, facilitating communication, and focusing the discussion toward a resolution of differences. The people involved stay empowered throughout the process. Any agreement that emerges must be approved by all parties. The mediator does not render an opinion or judgment.
There are many advantages to reaching agreement through mediation. Law suits can be avoided. Working relationships can be maintained. All parties retain a sense of dignity and self-determination. And follow-through with mediated agreements is usually very high, so enforcement of the agreement is usually not an issue.
Mediators facilitate agreement by carefully attending to the process of negotiation. Unproductive communications are interrupted in order to keep the discussion safe and respectful. The underlyng concerns of each party are elicited in detail before the discussion moves to solution proposals. This allows the parties to collaboratively craft a solution that neither side may have thought possible prior to the mediation.
In rare instances where agreement is not reached, a greater understanding of the parties' irreconcilable differences becomes clear. This understanding allows for the parties to establish a peaceful plan for disassociation.
I trained in mediation with Jim Melamed, JD, who sponsors the mediate.com website from Eugene, OR. I then worked extensively with the Santa Cruz Collaborative Practice group of attorneys, developing local applications of the collaborative law approach to divorce. I currently work in association with the Santa Cruz Conflict Resolution Center.
I offer mediation services through my private practice in Santa Cruz, California. I am available for mediations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. To discuss your situation please email me: