I am a trained and certified Mediator with experience working as a Court Appointed Mediator in Illinois Courts. I also provide Mediation to individuals and corporations on issues in my private practice on issues ranging from contract disputes to employment issues to estate planning issues. I incorporate the training from the Center for Conflict Resolution along with methods from the Navajo Tribal Justice program and other mediation practices to provide solutions that build community and offer workable solutions.
Mediation is based on the concept that the parties, with focused and trained questioning, are able and empowered to come to an agreement on the dispute and often other hidden agenda issues.
While some readers will be familiar with mediation, many will be unfamiliar with mediation in a legal context.
What is mediation?
Mediation is an alternative means to settle disputes outside of the courts. A successful mediation can avoid the expense and long time frames of a lawsuit. Mediation is also private and between the parties. There are no public court records that others can view.
It involves the parties and sometimes their attorneys or third parties, coming together with a Neutral Mediator. The parties and the Mediator talk and consider the issues to come up with an agreement that works for both parties. Unlike the typical court proceeding, which has only a winner and a loser, in mediation, there is more often an agreement that seeks to provide both parties with some of their needs and wants met. Additionally, Mediation can consider evidence and issues that would not be permitted in a court of law; and provide a broader agreement.
Depending on the circumstances, mediation can be done before a legal claim is filed or at any time up to and sometimes during a trial or hearing.
Mediation is always voluntary – the parties choose to be there and want to come to a resolution.
Additionally, many judges in Illinois order parties to enter into mediation on some or all of the issues. Examples might be child custody issues; small claims, pro se litigants, employment disputes.
What mediation is not?
Mediation is voluntary, which means that if you do not come to an agreement, the Mediator will not force you to an agreement. This is unlike either a court hearing or an arbitration hearing, where the final judgment is imposed on the parties.
When should I consider mediation?
There are numerous times you might want to use mediation over a lawsuit. Mediation is always best when the parties in a dispute expect to have an ongoing relationship of some kind. This ranges from co-parenting after a divorce to businesses that will continue to do business together but have a dispute in one contract or issue, say a bad delivery. Many family situations are well suited to mediation as well.
Some examples are listed below:
Business and Commercial Law
Disputes between founding members of a business or LLC; transition issues when selling, expanding or when a member is leaving an LLC; contract disputes of any kind; employment issues and wage disputes; trademark infringement, copyright infringement and concerns; debts and collection payments; landlord – tenant issues; disputes between tenants.
These might be family disputes, housing conflicts, breeder/owner/handler relationships, and commercial service providers.
These might include mediation for family members on caretaking duties and expectations, end of life decisions, setting up an estate plan or trust; power of attorney issues or medical decisions.
Perhaps you have a small estate but family members are fighting over one or two items, or certain expenses such as a headstone expense. This can be done within mediation and avoid the adversarial nature of court for the family. Other concerns can be a family member residing in a home after someone died, care of a family pet or other issues. Blended and step-families are ideal candidates for estate and future planning mediation.
Special Needs Adult Family Members & Mentally Ill Adults
The role and the choice of a Guardian for a special needs adult and the scope of authority might be mediated. Mental illness issues often touch on legal issues but are more complex than a single issue lawsuit provides. For example, mediation on a plan for independent living or moving out, responsibilities, etc.
For More on Mediation, Please Contact me at 847-544-8561.