Mediation is a rapid, affordable process for resolving a wide range of family and civil disputes, and mediation is the best available process for dispute resolution when people or businesses prefer to continue some portion their relationships, such as parenting a child or retaining a key supply-chain partner. The mediator, a neutral third person, assists the parties in reaching a voluntary agreement by helping the parties clarify issues, consider options, and reach a workable settlement that fits their needs.

Rather than leaving decisions up to a judge, who may or may not decide in your favor, mediation allows parties to solve their own problems more quickly, less expensively, and with a greater degree of certainty. Importantly, mediation outcomes can be made enforceable with a stipulated agreement, a written document prepared by the mediator for filing in court. Once signed by a judge, a stipulated agreement based on the contents of your mediation agreement becomes legally binding.

Judicial research supported by all fifty U.S. State Supreme Courts, the American Bar Association, and the Association of American Law Schools demonstrates that mediation offers parties the benefits of a process that promotes:
  • settlement through private, confidential negotiations
  • the promise of cost reduction
  • the potential for better relationships after settlement
  • voluntary disclosure and an ethic of fair dealing between parties during and after settlement
  • an experience in which the parties have a greater voice in the process of settlement than in a judicial resolution
  • a settlement process with which the parties are more likely to be satisfied as compared to litigation.
  • (From Chris Guthrie & James Levin, A “Party Satisfaction” Perspective on a Comprehensive Mediation Statute, 13 OHIO ST. J. ON DISP. RESOL. 885, 891, 1998.)

The Minnesota Judicial Branch encourages parties who have not been involved in domestic violence to use
alternative dispute resolution, or mediation, to settle their disputes. When using mediation to settle disputes, the parties hire the services of a qualified neutral mediator, who assists the parties in reaching a voluntary agreement by helping the parties clarify issues, consider options, and reach a workable settlement that fits their needs. Qualified neutrals can be found on the Minnesota’s Neutral Roster at the Minnesota Judicial Branch Web site. Fees vary across mediation services, but Northwest Mediation & Custody Investigation Services is unique in that our fees cover the services of a male/female mediation team, a way to eliminate perceptions of gender bias at no extra cost when compared to other services that provide either a male or a female mediator. Parties are encouraged to have all mediation agreements reviewed by an attorney before filing their settlement with the courts.

Mediation addresses disputes in two legal areas: Family Court and Civil Court. Common examples of dispute resolution in Family and Civil Court include:

Family Court
Divorce, with or without children
Post-divorce custody and parenting time modification

Eldercare for family seniors
Grandparenting Time
Marital conflict resolution
Parenting Coordination
Parenting Time Expediting
Early Neutral Evaluation

Civil Court
General Civil
Personal Injury
Real Estate
Workplace conflict resolution

Northwest Mediation & Custody Evaluation Services staff are fully trained neutrals
as defined under Minnesota General Rules of Practice Rule 114,
and proud members of the

NWM&CES is a member of the AFCC