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Questions You Want Answered > Mediation - An Alternative to Going to Court > What is mediation?

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At its most basic, mediation is a facilitated discussion with a neutral third person who is specially trained to help you and your spouse reach agreement.  The premise behind mediation is that most people are in dispute with others because of a failure of effective communication and because emotions interfere with people's ability to focus on commonality.  

A mediator may be anyone with the formal training.  Sometimes, the mediator is a lawyer, sometimes a menatl health professional and sometimes a financial person.  What you need to know is that when these people are acting as mediators, they are not permitted to give advice, as they would if they were acting in another role, and they do not make decisions.  Rather, they help you and your spouse reach your own decision with their help.

Some mediations, particularly those that are ordered by the court, require the attendance of your attorneys as well as you.  At others, just you and your spouse would be present.

Last updated on September 5, 2013 by Karen Robbins, Attorney at Law