In mediation, the parties attempt to settle their dispute through the active participation of a third party (mediator) who works to find points of agreement and make those in conflict achieve a fair result. Mediation has become very common in trying to resolve domestic relations disputes (divorce, child custody, visitation). Generally, the financial cost for mediation is less than fighting the matter out in court and may achieve early settlement and an end to anxiety. All communications — both oral and written — made for purposes of the mediation are confidential and cannot be used in court should the mediation fail to resolve the dispute. Mediation differs from arbitration in which the third party (arbitrator) acts much like a judge in an out-of-court setting but does not actively participate in the settlement discussions with the parties.
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