What is mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary process in which a trained mediator facilitates communication and negotiation between individuals in dispute. The goal of mediation is to reach an agreement that settles the disagreement in a mutually satisfactory manner. Mediations are conducted at a neutral location and in an informal and non-threatening environment.
During the mediation process, all participants are given the opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings regarding the matter in dispute. With the mediator, all individuals collectively create an agenda, identify the issue in dispute, define each individual's interests and create an agreement.
Benefits of Mediation
- Mediation is non-judgmental. Mediators do not act as advocates, render any opinion or decide how the dispute should be resolved. The mediator does not assess fault or take sides.
- Participants control the outcome. Individuals involved in mediation create their own agreement. The mediator's role is to help develop a realistic, workable solution that takes everyone's thoughts and feelings into consideration.
- Mediation is confidential. Kansas law (with some exceptions) makes mediations confidential. All notes made by mediators are destroyed after an agreement is reached. No participant can subpoena the mediator and no information specific to the mediation is admissable in court.
- Mediation can resolve issues quickly. Mediation can resolve disputes in a matter of days as opposed to months or years it may take in traditional legal proceedings.
- Mediation can preserve relationships. Mediation can help build a positive framework for future interactions between individuals. Mediation also models problem solving, listening and negotiation skills that can benefit participants long term.
- Mediation gets results. Depending on the type of dispute, between 40% and 80% of disputes taken to mediation result in agreement.
How Do I Access Mediation Services?
KLS provides mediation in a wide variety of cases including: insurance disputes, special education, employment discrimination, public accomodations, juvenile dependency and domestic matters such as custody and visitation. We receive referrals for mediation from local district courts, the Kansas Human Rights Commission, the Kansas Insurance Department and others. KLS also offers fee based mediations on a sliding scale.
KLS Mediation Programs
Access to Justice Mediations (ATJ) are funded by the Office of Judicial of Administration under the direction of the Kansas Supreme Court. ATJ funding enables income qualified persons to receive our mediation services at no charge. Often ATJ mediations involve domestic matters such as custody and visitation, as well as Child in Need of Care (CINC) cases.
Kansas Legal Services contracts with the Kansas Human Rights Commission (KHRC) to offer voluntary mediation to disputants involved in employment, housing, public accommodation and racial profiling discrimination complaints filed with the KHRC. Matching funds for this program are provided by the IOLTA Program.
Kansas Insurance Department Mediations. KLS mediates disputes between individuals and insurance companies in property and casualty matters. KLS provides insurance mediations throughout the state.
Kansas Legal Services accepts referrals of domestic, civil or juvenile disputes from judges, attorneys, agencies and the general public on a sliding for-fee basis whenever other funding sources do not apply.