The city provides free mediation services by referral. Mediation is a communication and problem-solving process used to assist people in conflict to resolve their differences. A neutral third party called a mediator guides the mediation sessions. The mediator has no authority to judge a dispute or impose a settlement.His or her sole objective is to help the parties reach their own settlement by talking to one another about their issues and about the different ways they could work together to resolve them.
What happens in mediation?
A pre-mediation meeting is often scheduled between the mediator and each party individually so that the mediator can learn about the dispute from varying perspectives. These one-on-one meetings can be helpful to the mediator in planning the actual mediation.
A mediation session is scheduled where the parties get together to discuss their situation with the mediator, who will establish a positive, productive atmosphere. During the session, the mediator will review the purpose and process of mediation and offer certain discussion guidelines that will be followed during the mediation.
Each party will have the opportunity to describe the situation as they personally see it. There will be a time for questions and clarification. Issues that must be resolved will be identified from the discussion. The parties will generate a number of possible solutions that could address their issues, and select those that seem to most favorably meet the needs of everyone involved. Steps to carry out the solutions will be identified along with appropriate time frames in which any action should occur.
The mediator will create a written “Mediation Agreement” that outlines all agreed upon action. The parties will sign the agreement and leave the mediation with the understanding that they will abide by the terms of the agreement.
Why use mediation to resolve conflict?
There are many environments where it is important for people to maintain a sense of “respectful cooperation” such as in a neighborhood or small community. Such cooperation allows people to talk about the problems that arise between them in an easier, more comfortable fashion. In fact,studies have shown that there are fewer problems where people have learned to respectfully communicate about what is important to them.
Many times it is not easy for people to approach someone who is causing them problems. Consequently, they may call on an outside “authority” such as the police end up in court where a judge or jury decides who is right and who is wrong, and how much someone should pay as a result. However, the police, the courts, and many people who have had their “day in court” are discovering that this approach seldom solves things over in the long run. In fact, it sometimes makes a problem worse by alienating the people involved and destroying all chances for them to establish the cooperation necessary to reach a lasting agreement.
This is why the city of Aurora encourages people to try mediation to resolve their disputes before using the more formal and adversarial approaches associated with the courts.
Is mediation successful?
Because mediation allows people in conflict to create their own solutions to a problem, they are more likely to comply with those solutions over time. Consequently, mediation is successful at bringing about lasting, long-term results to 80 percent of the cases that are mediated.
What type of conflicts can mediation help to resolve?
Mediation can help people work out just about any type of problem ranging from neighborhood situations (i.e., barking dogs, loud music, parking issues, etc.) to disputes that are caused by reasons more personal in nature.The important thing is that the people involved have some desire to solve the problem and are willing to participate in good faith in the mediation process.
What if mediation does not work?
If people do not succeed at resolving their dispute through mediation, they can still choose to pursue the court system to address their problem(s). However, they can do so knowing they first tried every cooperative measure to address their situation.
If you are interested in pursuing mediation as an option to resolve your dispute, please contact our mediator at 303.739.7280.