The normal process is for the parties and mediator to meet together, at scheduled sessions determined by the parties. Essentially mediation runs like a guided negotiation between the parties, with the mediator facilitating the communication. Most meditations generally run by the following five-stage format:
Stage 1: Establishing the Process: The mediator and the parties agree to a number of guidelines they will follow in the mediation. This usually includes only allowing one person to speak at a time, treating all parties with respect, and confidentially.
Stage 2: Exploring Positions and Interests: The parties usually make their initial statements regarding their disagreement and define what they hope to resolve in the mediation.
Stage 3: Developing Solutions: Each party discusses their interests and possible solutions to resolve their disagreement.
Stage 4: Finalizing A Resolution: The parties assisted by the mediator create a solution mutually agreeable to both parties.
Stage 5: The Written Agreement: Once agreed on, the solution is formalized in a written resolution agreement.
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