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What Happens if There’s No Resolution in Mediation

Next Page Mediation March 26, 2024

When anyone enters the mediation process, they typically do so intending to find a mutual resolution to their dispute.

However, the reality is that, despite the best efforts of everyone involved, there may be times when a satisfactory resolution simply cannot be reached through mediation.  

This outcome, while not ideal, doesn't signal the end of the road, but rather a shift toward exploring alternative paths for resolution.  

In this blog, I'll explore what steps can be taken when mediation does not lead to a resolution, guiding you through the alternatives and offering insight into how these options can still lead to a positive outcome. 

Getting Real About the Advantages and Disadvantages of Mediation

Mediation is a highly valuable process for numerous reasons. It provides a platform for the disputing parties to voice their concerns and perspectives openly and without the constraints of a formal trial setting. This open dialogue also fosters better communication and understanding between the parties involved, leading to more efficient and effective conflict resolution. 

Furthermore, one of the significant advantages of mediation is the empowerment it offers to the disputing parties in shaping the outcome of their dispute. Unlike court trials where decisions are made by judges or juries, mediation allows the parties to actively participate in finding a mutually agreeable solution. This collaborative approach not only ensures that the final resolution is tailored to meet the specific needs and interests of both sides but also promotes a sense of ownership and satisfaction with the outcome. 

While the benefits of mediation are evident, it's essential to acknowledge some of the challenges associated with this process.

Because mediation is a private meeting without the formal rules of an arbitration or litigation, disputing parties frequently hide information or evidence they might not have been able to conceal had they been in a traditional court setting.  

Mediation is most effective when both parties have equal power. When one party is passive or dominant, mediation may not protect the disadvantaged.

This speaks to mediation's limits, especially in divorce cases where one spouse is known for being difficult, manipulative, or even abusive. If mediation doesn't work, time and resources may be wasted. So it's crucial to assess if mediation is right for your case and plan for potential hiccups. 

Exploring Alternatives & Next Steps

If mediation is not successful, there are some other options to take into consideration: 

Return to Mediation: Disputing parties should keep in mind that they may pursue another mediation process and begin a new mediation. The disputing parties are allowed to choose a different mediator if they believe that the current mediator is ineffective, or has contributed to the inability to resolve the matter. 

Continue Pursuing Negotiations on Your Own: Negotiating on your own might not seem like the answer, as you wouldn't need mediation then. Yet, after hearing a neutral third party's view, disputing parties might settle the matter themselves. If a resolution can be reached without formal steps, carrying on with negotiations solo could work. 

Go to Trial: When mediation doesn't fix the problem, the case might end up in court for a judge to decide. Just because it goes to court after mediation doesn't mean mediation failed. Many small issues can be sorted out through mediation, which is valuable.  

The Importance of Staying Open to Alternative Dispute Resolution

It's not uncommon for mediation sessions to reach an impasse. But there are ways forward, especially when you're working with a skilled and passionate divorce mediator. The goal is not just to resolve the conflict but to do so amicably and with everyone's best interests in mind. 

Sometimes, the act of moving towards arbitration or preparing for litigation can motivate parties to find a compromise, because they learn about the financial and emotional costs associated with litigation and prolonged disputes. The collaborative, cost-saving benefits of mediation make it worth reconsidering, even after you think you've hit a point of no return. 

So, regardless of whether mediation leads to a resolution or not, it's crucial to stay open-minded and engaged throughout this process. While it may not always result in a resolution, mediation continues to provide a valuable platform for parties to communicate and understand each other's perspectives, which can ultimately lead to a positive outcome. And if mediation does fail, there are still alternatives available that can help you find a resolution and move forward.  

Move Forward With Next Page Mediation 

At Next Page Mediation, my team understands that not every mediation leads to a resolution. But, our commitment doesn’t end even if mediation stalls.  

I'm here to advise on the next steps, whether that means trying another round of mediation with a new approach, preparing for arbitration, or supporting your transition to litigation. My goal remains to guide you through this challenging time, aiming for a resolution that respects the needs and wishes of all parties involved. 

For those in northeastern Ohio and Washington State looking for guidance post-mediation, contact me at Next Page Mediation. I'm proud to work with clients and families throughout Akron, Canton, Shaker Heights, Wooster, Youngstown, Mansfield, and even Seattle, WA.