What is mediation?
Mediation is an opportunity for people to talk and make their own decisions on what to do next, with the help of a mediator, who is neutral.
Mediation is private and confidential
I don’t think mediation will work for us.
Most people DON’T think mediation will work for them. They are skeptical about trying to talk things out one more time. Most don’t trust the other person. They think, “If we were going to be able to talk things out, we would have DONE that already. We’re past that. Communication is worse than ever now. It’s hopeless.”
Skepticism and doubt are common initially. But they don’t predict what will happen in mediation since over two thirds of the people who mediate reach agreement. Most of them are surprised they can talk things out.
What does the mediator do?
The mediator helps people have the kind of conversation they would like to have but haven’t been able to have on their own.
The mediator gives each person a chance to tell their perspective, share their concerns, be heard, and ask questions. You two will decide what to do next.
The mediator does NOT make decisions, give you advice, or make recommendations to the court.
What kinds of issues can we discuss and decide in mediation?
You can discuss and decide on anything you are both willing to discuss and make decisions on
When can we mediate?
In some counties (Johnson, Linn, and Iowa) you can mediate when you come to court on your court date. In other counties you can schedule mediation before your court date. Contact the Clerk of Court on your county for more information.
In Johnson and Iowa counties, mediating is voluntary in small claims cases. Let the court attendant or the judge know you want to mediate when you arrive in the courtroom.
In Linn County, you must try mediation.
In all three counties, if you do not reach an agreement in mediation, you will go into the courtroom for a hearing where the judge will make a decision on the claim that was filed.
What are the advantages of mediation?
- You control the decisions. •Any agreement you reach must be acceptable to both of you.
- The other person will hear your concerns and you will hear theirs.
- You can ask the other person questions.
- You will probably hear new information.
- Mediation can be less emotionally stressful than going to court.
- People are more likely to follow through on or comply with a mediated agreement than they are with a court decision.
- Mediation is more informal than a court hearing.
- Mediation provides the parties with more flexibility than the parties have in a court hearing.
Do I need an attorney?
A majority of people in small claims cases do not consult with or bring an attorney to court or mediation, yet some do. An attorney can help you understand any legal issues in your case and tell you the range of what a judge might decide. Do you need an attorney? It’s up to you.
Can my attorney come to mediation?
Yes, if you choose.
What happens if we reach an agreement?
If you reach an agreement, the mediator will write up the agreement and all the involved parties will sign it. Then you will go into the courtroom where the judge will read and (usually) accept and sign your agreement. Then your agreement becomes the court’s decision.
What if this is a tenant/landlord situation?
If this is a tenant-landlord case, be sure to read your lease thoroughly before you come to court so you fully understand the terms of your lease.
What happens if the agreement is kept?
If the agreement is kept, the person who originally filed the case must notify the court by filing a Dismissal form, provided by the mediator.
What happens if the agreement is not kept?
If the agreement is not kept, the person who originally filed the case must notify the court by filing an Affidavit of Default form, provided by the mediator.
Mediation is an opportunity for you to make decisions that are acceptable to you.
Mediation: It's your solution.