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What is mediation? Is it something I might want to try?

Many courts now offer parties mediation to try to resolve their dispute without a trial. In mediation, the parties sit down with a neutral third party, usually a member of the court staff, to try to reach an agreement to resolve their case. The agreement could involve a payment plan to catch up on rent, a modification of the parties’ lease, or an agreement that the tenant will move at some specific, future date.

The third party usually will write up the agreement. It will be signed by the parties and, in most cases, submitted to the Court for the Judge’s signature. The parties each will receive a copy. The parties may agree to one or more status hearings, to make sure both sides are following the agreement.

Mediation gives the parties more flexibility in reaching their goal and more control over resolving their case. If the court decides the case, most often one party will win and one will lose; in mediation both parties can win, by getting at least part of the outcome they want.

If parties try to reach an agreement through mediation but cannot, they still can go forward with their court hearing. Let the court know if you are willing to try mediation to resolve your case.

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