Frequently Asked Questions about Mediation
What is mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary and confidential way for people to resolve their disagreements. During mediation, people meet at a safe and neutral place to discuss their options for effectively resolving their problem. One or two mediators guide the process to help keep communication respectful.
Why should I try mediation?
Mediation can be an effective first step in trying to resolve a conflict. It saves time, money, and energy that might otherwise be spent tangled in a frustrating legal process. In mediation, people in conflict decide for themselves the solution that is right for them. Mediation helps people clear the air so they can preserve their relationship, which otherwise might be damaged if they went to court.
What situations can be mediated?
- Neighbor issues: property-line disputes, animal noise, shared walls, trees
- Landlord/tenant problems: money owed, payment plans, deposits, refunds, back rent
- Family conflicts: decision making about care of aging parents or other family members, communicating with teens
- Real estate disputes: earnest money, non-disclosure of damage
- Small claims: property damage, money owed
- Business issues: partner disagreements, client complaints
- Employee conflicts: office issues, coworkers who don’t get along
- Personal injury claims: auto accidents, premises liability
- Domestic relations: divorce and child custody
- Group decision making: neighborhood associations, community organizations, schools, clubs, boards of directors
What does a typical mediation look like?
Participants meet with one or two mediators, who explain the process and ask them to agree to some guidelines for respectful communication. Each participant will have an opportunity to share his or her side of the story, what the participant wants, and what he or she is willing to do to help solve the problem. The mediator(s) will listen and ask questions, making sure that the participants are clearly hearing and understanding each other. If the participants reach an agreement, the mediator(s) will help ensure that it is fair and specific.
Who are the mediators?
Mediators are a diverse group trained to be unbiased and neutral. They help people communicate effectively but do not take sides or review evidence.
Is mediation legally binding?
Participants create a written agreement and each receives a copy. Some agreements reached in mediations involving money, personal injury claims, business disputes, domestic relations, or real estate can be legally binding. Mediation agreements reached in other less formal disputes (such as animal noise complaints) may not be enforcible in court. Nonetheless, statics show that most of these informal agreements remain in force long after they were entered into by the participants.
How long does a mediation take?
Most mediations sessions are scheduled for two to four hours.
Who/what should I bring to the mediation?
Participants bring only themselves, though they may bring a spouse or partner who is affected by the problem as well. You may bring information such as logs or photos that you can use to help the other participant understand your point of view. Other people who might be helpful to the mediation may attend, but only with prior approval of both participants. Attorneys sometimes attend mediations arising from formal disputes. Where the disputes is more informal the participants normally represent themselves.
How much does a mediation cost?
It depends on the organization doing the mediation and the type of dispute between the parties. Private mediators generally charge an hourly fee. Mediation services offered through the court system or a community mediation service are often available for free or at a nominal charge.
I’m having a conflict with someone in another state. Can mediation be done via phone?
Yes, mediation services often can be provided via conference call or web-based video conferencing platforms.
Will the mediator discuss my case with anyone else (attorneys, law enforcement, case workers, etc.)?
The entire mediation process is protected by law as confidential. Except for unusual circumstances such as actual or threatened violence during the mediation, or evidence of abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult, mediators are prohibited by law from discussing your case with anyone without your permission. Mediators and their case files may not be subpoenaed without a court order.
Contributing Attorney: Dan Westerburg is one of many volunteer mediators at The Center for Community Dialogue a program of Our Family Services in Tucson.
We've been living in a rental home for 4 years and the last few months went to a month to month lease. We've never been late with rent but we received a 30 day notice to vacate. We were told by the property management company that the owners are in trouble. I am disabled and this is causing me to have flare ups in my conditions. We've asked for an extension but was told no. Do we have any other options to get more time?
Can the apartment management come in to my apartment and take photographs? I refused but they did it anyway, I asked him to leave and he ignored me. The photos included my entire kitchen, my pantry that I purchased and it has glass doors (not part of the apartment, a stand alone cabinet) and my bathroom. We had recent repairs but he didn't take photos in the areas repaired and refused to answer why. My personal belongings were in the photo. The apartment was very clean, nothing Out of compliance but I feel my rights were violated.
I have filled a small claims against my former landlord for failure to return refundable deposits. The defendant has requested to the court that her property agent be placed as a co-defendant and property agent is willing to accept. Can we have that person removed as defendant when they are not named in Lawsuit?
I was a victim of Domestic Abuse on 3/9/13. I called & also faxed a notice to landlord telling her I was vacating the property on 3/11/13 & told her why & attached copy of Restraining order. Now she won't give me back my deposit because she let my husband move back in & he messed up the place. At the time I gave her notice he was not living there & the keys were returned to her. Since she did not do a walk through on 3-11 and let him move back in, am I still responsible for damages? She said she had 30 days to release me from the lease. Is this true.
My apartment community has changed ownership several times since I moved in 4 years ago. I discovered that my unit was wired to provide electricity for one of the apartment amenities that was outside of my unit. The management has fixed the problem but they are only offering to reimburse me for the time that they owned the property, about 13 months and told me that I would have to track down the previous owners for the rest of the money. Should they be obligated to pay a rebate for the 3 years that I was paying for their electricity or do I indeed need to take it up with the previous owners
I am a landlord with a Phoenix rental condo. As a result of plumbing work done by the HOA in the wall between my unit and another, a minor flood was caused resulting in water damage to the floor and some of my tenants items. I am dealing with my insurance company to do repairs. In the meantime, my tenant has decided to withhold rent (for 2 months now). Is this allowed under the law?
REGARDING: I SERVED AN "IMMEDIATE TERMINATION" ON 5/6 BECAUSE OF 2 DIFFERENT TREATS TO BEAT-UP ANOTHER TENANT IN ANOTHER APT, ALSO SUSPICION OF DRUG TRAFFIC. i CANNOT FIND OUT WHAT IS MY NEXT PROCEDURE..SUCH AS COURT OR HOW TO EVICT THEM. ZHENYA RICE 928.284.9481.
Is it the responsibility of the Property Management company or the tenet to bring a building up to code if the building was leased already not in code? My property management company rented me a commercial facility that was no where near up to code, five years ago. The company is now trying to force me to bring the building up to code(needs electrical, new roof, etc.) none of that was up to code when I rented it. It’s been five years of the building not being up to code, now that I’m in my last 4 months of my lease they’re pulling this. Just need advice.
I'm not a Landlord, but a person who let a woman & her children stay with me due to domestic violence. Her children are so violent that they attack my dog & my young children. She's only be here a couple weeks. I want her to leave, but I don't know if I've gotten myself into a legal bind. I'm trying to get her to go to a DV shelter, but so far no luck. What can I do legally. No agreement was signed & no money had been paid by her.
when we moved into our rental the bathrooms were covered in black mold, and within the first month, we are now being infested with bedbugs... what rights do we have and can we get out of our contract where the conditions are so horific?
- Please select your county of residence below.
State Bar of Arizona
Maricopa County Bar
Referral number 602-257-4434
Pima County Bar
Referral number 520-623-4625
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Bankruptcy Court Self Help Center
Certified Legal Document Preparer Program