A typical mediation begins with a phone call to make sure mediation is the proper path to resolve the issue. Rules of confidentiality are enacted from this first phone call throughout the entire mediation process.
Mediation is a voluntary process, therefore the other party is contacted to see if they are willing to mediate so the case can proceed.
A time that works for both parties is determined and they meet at the mediation center or another agreed upon location.
The mediator or mediators typically do not know the facts of the issue before meeting with the parties, however complex issues may necessitate phone calls to both parties to clarify certain aspects of the issue.
The mediators and parties talk through the issue to work on a solution both parties can agree upon. It is important to note that the mediators do not make decisions about the issue, decision making power rests solely with the parties. The mediators remain neutral and function as facilitators, helping parties dig deep on the issues to find solutions they might not have thought of before mediation.
When the parties come to a solution on their issue the mediators help draft a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the parties to make sure terms of the agreement are clearly understood by all. The MOU will be the one mediation document not protected by confidentiality so that it can be made legally binding if necessary.