In order to maximize the likelihood of success, it is important that both parties cooperate with the mediator and understand some basic ground rules. Specifically, the following points are important:
Mediators do not decide who is right or wrong. They facilitate a discussion between the parties.
The parties are expected to negotiate in good faith. Both sides will be committed to reaching a mutually acceptable agreement.
Each side will be given an equal chance to talk, but only one person may speak at a time.
Name-calling, foul language, rowdy behavior, and threats will not be tolerated.
Only individuals directly involved in the dispute are allowed to be present at mediation sessions. Mediators are prohibited from discussing the dispute with anyone not directly involved.
Although not required for the purposes of mediation, evidence (e.g., receipts or photographs) may be submitted; and witnesses may appear so long as they contribute relevant information. Each party is responsible to arrange for the appearance of any witnesses.
Attorneys may attend mediation sessions in an advisory capacity, but they are not allowed to actively participate.
Mediation sessions are confidential. Disclosures and proposals made in an effort to resolve disputes cannot be used in any subsequent court proceeding concerning the matter.