Frequently Asked Questions about Mediation
What is mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary and confidential way for people to resolve their disagreements. During mediation, people meet at a safe and neutral place to discuss their options for effectively resolving their problem. One or two mediators guide the process to help keep communication respectful.
Why should I try mediation?
Mediation can be an effective first step in trying to resolve a conflict. It saves time, money, and energy that might otherwise be spent tangled in a frustrating legal process. In mediation, people in conflict decide for themselves the solution that is right for them. Mediation helps people clear the air so they can preserve their relationship, which otherwise might be damaged if they went to court.
What situations can be mediated?
- Neighbor issues: property-line disputes, animal noise, shared walls, trees
- Landlord/tenant problems: money owed, payment plans, deposits, refunds, back rent
- Family conflicts: decision making about care of aging parents or other family members, communicating with teens
- Real estate disputes: earnest money, non-disclosure of damage
- Small claims: property damage, money owed
- Business issues: partner disagreements, client complaints
- Employee conflicts: office issues, coworkers who don’t get along
- Personal injury claims: auto accidents, premises liability
- Domestic relations: divorce and child custody
- Group decision making: neighborhood associations, community organizations, schools, clubs, boards of directors
What does a typical mediation look like?
Participants meet with one or two mediators, who explain the process and ask them to agree to some guidelines for respectful communication. Each participant will have an opportunity to share his or her side of the story, what the participant wants, and what he or she is willing to do to help solve the problem. The mediator(s) will listen and ask questions, making sure that the participants are clearly hearing and understanding each other. If the participants reach an agreement, the mediator(s) will help ensure that it is fair and specific.
Who are the mediators?
Mediators are a diverse group trained to be unbiased and neutral. They help people communicate effectively but do not take sides or review evidence.
Is mediation legally binding?
Participants create a written agreement and each receives a copy. Some agreements reached in mediations involving money, personal injury claims, business disputes, domestic relations, or real estate can be legally binding. Mediation agreements reached in other less formal disputes (such as animal noise complaints) may not be enforcible in court. Nonetheless, statics show that most of these informal agreements remain in force long after they were entered into by the participants.
How long does a mediation take?
Most mediations sessions are scheduled for two to four hours.
Who/what should I bring to the mediation?
Participants bring only themselves, though they may bring a spouse or partner who is affected by the problem as well. You may bring information such as logs or photos that you can use to help the other participant understand your point of view. Other people who might be helpful to the mediation may attend, but only with prior approval of both participants. Attorneys sometimes attend mediations arising from formal disputes. Where the disputes is more informal the participants normally represent themselves.
How much does a mediation cost?
It depends on the organization doing the mediation and the type of dispute between the parties. Private mediators generally charge an hourly fee. Mediation services offered through the court system or a community mediation service are often available for free or at a nominal charge.
I’m having a conflict with someone in another state. Can mediation be done via phone?
Yes, mediation services often can be provided via conference call or web-based video conferencing platforms.
Will the mediator discuss my case with anyone else (attorneys, law enforcement, case workers, etc.)?
The entire mediation process is protected by law as confidential. Except for unusual circumstances such as actual or threatened violence during the mediation, or evidence of abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult, mediators are prohibited by law from discussing your case with anyone without your permission. Mediators and their case files may not be subpoenaed without a court order.
Contributing Attorney: Dan Westerburg is one of many volunteer mediators at The Center for Community Dialogue a program of Our Family Services in Tucson.
I am the owner of a rental property and am under contract with a tenant through 2/29/16. Circumstances have arisen which are going to require me to sell the home within the next few months. It appears as though there is no early termination agreement in the lease. Can I terminate with ample notice to the tenant?
I lived in apartment for 2yrs. Carpet was new. Contract was up 11/30/18 and completed the walk-through on 11/28. At the walk-through we were told that everything was fine except a stain on the countertop which we were told that we would probably have to pay for. Two weeks later I get a letter that I have to pay to replace the carpet because it's worn more than the 36 month life limit. I have pictures of the carpet and it is not worn nor dirty.
I'm renting a rv space in my home what are my rights as a landlord and there rights. The rv belongs to them. Is it consider the same as if they were living inside my home I want to make a lease but I want to make sure I protect my rights as well as theirs.
I live in an apartment complex. On July 26th, 2014, there was a storm and a tree planted on the premises fell onto my car. The apartment complex removed it two days later. They claim it was an "act of God", and won't cover the repairs for the damages to my vehicle. My question is this: Would this fall under the provisions in the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, section 33-1324, Landlord to maintain fit premises?
Is there a time limit(yrs,mths,etc.,)on getting a security deposit back from a prevous landlord?
The law provides that if my landlord does not return my deposit less deductions within 14 working days they are liable for damages of twice the amount of the deposit. Does that prevent the landlord from having any deductions at all?
Can a landlord use your deposit to replace wear and tear?
I'm trying to rent or sell my home which is currently rented. Tenant doesn't want anyone in the home & won't respond to my calls & emails. Do phone messages & emails fullfill the requirements for 2 day entry notice or must i post a notice on door? If so, would you tell me where in the AZ landlord tenant act is notice for entry? Also, for viewing purposes, if I have a viewing for a prospective tenant, may I give a 2-hour window then call the realtor so she can post that realtors may show the home during that 2-hr time too?
I have a Friend in Arizona that is in a 12 month lease and she has stated that they signed an addendum specifying that if they break the lease they will have to leave in 3 days period. She and her sister who doesn't live on the property are both on the lease according to her. Question, can one be on a lease if they don't live in the Apartment ? Question can the landlord set the addendum up in such a way that if the lease is broken she would have to leave in 3 days. ? As well if her sister decides to break her part of the lease but my friend wants to stay ?
I am helping my daughter, who lives out of state and has guardianship of her father, move him to an assisted living facility. He has diagnosed dementia and severe major depressive disorder. He now lives independently in an apartment. His primary care doctor feels it is no longer safe for him to live alone. Under Arizona law, is there a way she can terminate his lease early without paying all the penalties and the stipulated two months rent since his move is for health reasons?
- Please select your county of residence below.
State Bar of Arizona
Maricopa County Bar
Referral number 602-257-4434
Pima County Bar
Referral number 520-623-4625
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Bankruptcy Court Self Help Center
Certified Legal Document Preparer Program
- Community Legal Services - Central Office
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- Southern Arizona Legal Aid, Inc. - Lakeside - Apache, Gila, and Navajo Counties
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- Arizona Community Action Association
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- Southern Arizona Legal Aid, Inc.
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- Southern Arizona Legal Aid, Inc. - Nogales - Santa Cruz County
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