Mediation is a voluntary process whereby two or more parties who are in conflict can come together to discuss their differences with the help of a neutral third party, the mediator, in the hopes of reaching some sort of agreement that will resolve the conflict.
One main difference between mediation and litigation is that the mediator is not a judge. The mediator will not decide who wins or loses, will not assign blame or liability, and does not, ultimately, decide what, if any, restitution will be made in any given case. Another difference is that mediation does not result in a judgment. Instead, the mediation may result in an agreement between the parties that resolves the conflict. However, the parties decide what goes in that agreement and the mediator is only involved to the extent that he or she helps to draft the agreement.
The mediator’s job is to help the parties to have a productive conversation about their conflict. The mediator listens carefully to all parties involved in a dispute and asks questions intended to move the conversation between the parties forward. The mediator does not take sides or advocate for any particular resolution to the conflict. Instead, the mediator tries to help each person involved in the conflict come to a better understanding of what is at stake for them and their co-disputants and how the conflict might be resolved.
Windy City Mediation charges $250/hr for mediation.
There is no “typical” mediation and how long the process takes cannot be predicted. A lot can be accomplished in two hours, but four hours is not uncommon, and there are mediations that might be spread over two days. In fact, divorce mediations typically span over 5-6 two hour sessions. It all depends on the nature of the conflict and the willingness/ability of the parties to continue to mediate.