Mediation is a process that helps people and organizations involved in disputes try to resolve their differences. In mediated settlement conferences, the parties are assisted to explore the possibilities of settling their differences.
A person who conducts the mediated settlement conferences and facilitates the settlement communications is the mediator. Mediators must be impartial among the parties and neutral about the outcome of the process. The process is designed to empower the parties to present their positions and issues, to ensure that the parties are fully heard, and to help the parties evaluate the possibility and potential value of settling their disputes.
Any dispute can be mediated, but most frequently mediations are scheduled to resolve cases that already have been submitted to courts to decide, or to prevent issues from being disputed in court. Some mediations for family, employment, business and organizational disputes also aim to help the parties improve their communications, so they may cooperate better with one another in their ongoing relations.
Many courts order parties to participate in mediation before they will have a trial, and many types of cases are required by law to be mediated before trials can occur. In these cases, the courts want people to try to settle their own disputes before the courts will take on the ultimate task of resolving the disputes for them.
In Florida, mediations that are ordered by the courts must be conducted by mediators who are certified by the Florida Supreme Court to mediate cases in the court systems. Certifications are specific to each court, such as Circuit, County, Family and Dependency courts, and requires their mediators to have completed particular training courses, to have observed mediations, to have co-mediated with certified mediators, to have a good moral character, and to meet minimum education requirements.
Stuart Reed is certified to mediate cases in all of Florida’s circuit, family and county courts.