~ FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions)
Mediation helps people resolve their own disputes:
- Faster (days, not months or years); and
- At less cost (financial and emotional); while
- Getting their needs met (based on interests rather than rights); and
- Preserving important relationships (with relative, friend, partner, etc.).
EXAMPLES OF DISPUTES APPROPRIATE FOR MEDIATION
Disputes involving abuse or violence may be deemed inappropriate for mediation. It can prevent one or more of the parties from effectively representing their own interests.
Anyone in Travis County or the surrounding area can use the services of the DRC, even if one party is not in this area. Calls to the DRC are free of charge and our intake workers can evaluate whether the DRC can be of assistance in a particular situation.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS Re: MEDIATION AND THE DRC
What does the Dispute Resolution Center do?
The Dispute Resolution Center is a nonprofit agency providing ADR Services including mediation, arbitration, community education and training. The DRC provides a safe, neutral setting for people to sit down together and resolve conflicts outside the court system.
Who are the mediators? What is their training and background?
Our mediators are individuals in the community who volunteer their time to work with people in conflict. Mediators have a variety of backgrounds including law, social service and business. They undergo an intensive 40-hour training program in mediation techniques and most receive specialized training in Domestic Relations, Family and Parent/Adolescent mediation. Mediators do not take sides or give advice; their role is to help the parties talk to each other and work toward an agreement.
What is the difference between mediation and arbitration?
In arbitration, an arbitrator makes a decision based on the facts in the case. In mediation, the parties themselves determine the outcome.
We've tried talking before and it doesn't do any good.
It's frustrating to be in a conflict that never seems to get resolved. Emotions can run high and make it difficult for both parties to feel heard and understood. Our mediators are trained to facilitate communication so each party gets a clearer understanding of the issues and what it will take to resolve the dispute in a way that satisfies both.
He told me six months ago that he would pay me the money, but he never did. Why should this be any different?
At the DRC, the mediators will help you examine any agreement you reach for how realistic it is, and they will help you be specific about proposed plans for the future. You may include a plan for what will happen if the terms of the agreement are not met. Anything you are able to agree upon will be written down and signed by both parties. You will each leave with a copy of any agreement that you reach.
Is the agreement legally binding?
The agreement is a contract in the sense that two or more parties have agreed to something and signed it. It will be written in your own words and not in legal language. If you want to make sure it is legally enforceable, you should see an attorney. However, if you go to court with the agreement as written in mediation, it may be used as evidence.
I don't want to talk to her - I want to take her to court
People often feel that way when they first contact the DRC. Most people use mediation to avoid the time and expense of a court case and because a court decision doesn't always solve the underlying problem. Even if you go to court and win, what will the situation be in six months? Mediation allows for a settlement that has the commitment of both parties.
What is the DRC's agreement or success rate?
'Agreement rates fluctuate between 65 and 75% with an overall satisfactory rate of 95% depending on the types of cases referred and how long the case has been active.' Even if the parties don't reach an agreement, most of our clients say the mediation benefited them. They gain a better understanding of what the issues are and what choices they have.
What kind of dispute is most likely/least likely to be successful in mediation?
Disputes, either personal or business, where the parties have an ongoing relationship have a better chance of success with mediation. When the parties don't know each other and won't be seeing each other again, mediation is somewhat less likely to end in agreement, but can still be beneficial.