While mediation is the answer in many different settings, understanding the right time to use mediation, the requirements for mediation, and the right time to pursue other opportunities is absolutely essential. Mediation is able to address a number of different challenges, but when is the right time to use mediation?

Why Mediation Matters

There are many reasons to consider mediation over taking a case to trial. One of the most important is that both parties can still retain control over any outcome in the case. More than that, it’s possible to preserve a relationship through mediation.

For example, in the event that a couple with children is trying to come up with the right custody agreement. In this instance, mediation can make certain the relationship they’ve built isn’t completely eroded by the time they get done. 

Requirements for Mediation & When it Can be Used

Often, the requirements for mediation include that both parties have the ability to communicate with each other to come to a settlement. Poor communication is frequently at the heart of many disputes and a neutral third party, like a mediator, can help change that dynamic. Therefore, allowing room for successful mediation.

This may happen if parties are having difficulty resolving the situation because they’re scared of confronting the other party or they simply don’t have strong conflict resolution skills.

Additionally, this can also occur if there are psychological barriers involved in the dispute resolution process. It could also be the case if preserving a relationship is a key component involved. 

Mediation often works well in cases where both parties disagree, but they aren’t yet to the stage where they’re ready to proceed with a lawsuit against the other party involved.

When is Mediation Not Appropriate?

There are times when mediation is simply not an option, so when can mediation not be used?  If one party feels threatened by the other, mediation may not be a good idea.

If one party has been subjected to physical violence by the other party, mediation should not be tried. It makes it incredibly difficult to get a friendly resolution. Mediation relies on safety, and once that feeling of safety has been violated, it is not the best choice. 

Mediation also may not be the best idea if anyone involved is not interested in a positive solution. Both parties have to commit to the process and make it work. If either is simply not interested, nothing will move forward as it should. 

The truth is, mediation may not be the best choice if one party is unable to participate in negotiations. It’s a long, tedious process in many cases, and if an individual simply cannot participate, the mediation should never begin. 

While many mediators will tell you there’s never a bad time to engage in mediation, the simple truth is that there really is a right time and place to use this method, but you have to understand the requirements for mediation.