"Another Way"
Sunrise Mediation
Rebecca H. Hiers

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Frequently Asked Questions


What is Mediation?

Why Mediate?

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Mediation Right
for My Situation?
Mediation is different in many ways from adjudication processes.  So it is normal to have many questions about the mediation process.  Below are some of the questions that are asked most frequently by individuals who are considering using mediation to resolve their disputes: 

     What if I'm not comfortable in mediation?

Mediation is a voluntary process.  Even for most mandatory mediations, the only requirement is that the Parties attend the initial introduction.  After that, if you feel that mediation is not working for you, you can withdraw at any time.  You do not have to give a reason.  If you do feel uncomfortable, though, bringing your concern to the attention of the Mediator may allow the situation to be addressed so that you will feel comfortable continuing in the mediation process. 

     Will the Mediator decide my case?

No.  The Mediator guides the mediation process, by asking questions and by making sure that every Party has an opportunity to be heard.  It is the mediation Parties, however, who decide what solution, if any, fits their needs. 

     What is "impartiality"?

"Impartiality" means that the Mediator will not take sides.  This means that the Mediator will not favor any Party over another, and will not advocate for any particular solution.  If, during a mediation, you feel that the Mediator may be biased, you should bring that concern to the Mediator's attention immediately. 

     What is the role of our attorneys? 

Because a Mediator is impartial and does not represent any of the disputing Parties in the mediation process, the Mediator typically cannot give legal advice.  Therefore, if you have legal rights at stake, you should consult with an Attorney to make sure that those rights will be protected.  For some types of disputes, the Attorneys who represent the involved Parties will need to participate in all of the mediation sessions.  For other types of disputes, the Attorneys may not need to be present.  In any case, before signing any binding final agreement, each Party should consult an Attorney to review the tentative agreement. 

     Is mediation like counseling?

Mediation is not therapy.  Frequently, the Mediator will explore the underlying feelings involved in the dispute - but only to the extent necessary to explore solutions.  Because being caught up in a conflict can be very stressful, though, many individuals find therapeutic counseling to be helpful while dealing with a dispute situation. 

     Are our discussions confidential?

Yes, for the most part.  Different jurisdictions have different laws though.  Consult with your Attorney to determine which mediation laws may apply, and what level of confidentiality you can expect. 

When governmental entities are involved in the mediation process, public meetings and public records laws may apply.  Usually in public policy mediations, communications are not confidential. 

In most jurisdictions, the Parties' final agreement is not confidential. 

     Can I speak privately with the Mediator? 

Yes.  This is called a "caucus."  During the mediation, the Mediator may ask to break into short private sessions with each Party.  Any Party can request a caucus too. 

     How long will the mediation take, and how much will it cost?

It depends - on the Parties and on the issues.  Typically, the longer the mediation process, the higher the cost.   

Some mediations can be completed within a couple of hours, while others may require many sessions and may extend over several months.  The Mediator and the Parties can get a better idea of the likely amount to time necessary after the initial consultation. 

The Parties can help speed the process by coming to the mediation sessions dedicated to trying to find a mutually agreeable solution, and prepared to work hard towards that end.  Also, the Mediator can give the Parties "homework" to do on their own time between sessions; and that also can help speed the process. 

     What if we can't agree on everything?   

Mediations usually result in a comprehensive agreement that addresses all of the related issues.  Sometimes, though, the Parties may be able to agree on several, but not all of the issues.  In this type of situation, the Parties still can develop a partial agreement, and then use use other dispute resolution methods, such as court, to address the remaining issues. 

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   Pendleton, OR  97801
Sunrise Mediation 541-276-4000