Mediation Definition

A process that involves opposing parties in a dispute meeting with a neutral third party (called the "mediator") who helps them negotiate a resolution outside of court. Unlike a judge or an arbitrator, a mediator has no power to impose a solution—instead, the mediator facilitates communication and helps the parties find common ground. No formal rules of evidence or procedure control mediation; the mediator and the parties typically agree on their own procedures.

Mediation is commonly used in divorce proceedings and is mandatory in some states in child custody disputes. Compare: arbitration, trial.