Mediation is an informal and confidential process whereby a neutral third person (the mediator) facilitates discussions between disputing parties to voluntarily resolve the dispute.
The mediator is neutral as to the participants and impartial as to the outcome. The mediator has no decision making power, but facilitates the resolution in an informal and non-adversarial process. The mediator can establish ground rules for negotiation, open up the channels of communication, articulate and/or re-frame the needs of each participant, and occasionally make evaluative recommendations on the issues in dispute. Additionally, the role of the mediator can include assisting the parties in identifying the issues, fostering joint problem solving, exploring settlement alternatives; and helping the parties construct final settlement terms.
A settlement agreement reached in mediation can be memorialized in writing at the mediation and become a binding, enforceable agreement, thus putting an end to the dispute.
Mediation in general is governed by Chapter 44, Florida Statutes, Rules 1.700 – 1.830, Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, the Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators; and the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar (for attorney mediators).