distressed-couple-in-counselingMediation is any process designed to help people resolve disputes, and can be informal—such as when a friend offers to talk to both members of a couple about a relationship problem—or highly structured, such as when divorcing couples attend binding mediation as part of a court action.

What is Mediation?

The process of mediation is designed to reduce conflict, particularly in contentious situations. Mediators are typically disinterested third parties, although friends or family may act as mediators in disputes. Some people are trained in the art of mediation and are hired to help people resolve disputes. Mediators may have a background in psychology, social work, law or criminal justice, and most states establish specific training programs mediators must meet to be certified or licensed.

Types of Mediation

Informal mediation occurs any time one person attempts to help two or more people resolve a dispute. This process can be extremely helpful because it provides an outside perspective. In some cases, however, it can be harmful, such as when one member of a couple thinks the mediator is unfair or when the couple takes their anger out on the mediator.

Formal mediation occurs when two or more parties agree to attend mediation with a trained mediator. This is usually in a legal context, such as when one party has filed or threatened to file a lawsuit against another. Mediation is usually confidential, but the agreements reached by two parties in mediation are often binding. In arbitration, a variation on mediation, the arbitrator sometimes has the authority to make a decision about the outcome of the cause after talking to each party.

Mediation is increasingly popular in divorce cases because it helps to minimize conflict, prevents the waste of judicial resources, and can help couples come to mutual agreements that are tolerable to both parties.


  1. Divorce mediation myths. (n.d.). Nolo. Retrieved from
  2. Welcome. (n.d.). Success Consulting Mediation. Retrieved from

Last Updated: 08-11-2015

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  • Judy

    August 19th, 2020 at 8:25 PM

    Thank you for the information about jealousy. It was very insightful and informative. I am a jealous person and my BF said I have Morbid Jealousy? So I read about Morbid Jealousy and took the test and answered yes to more than 3 the first 3 what it failed to explain was could I be Morbidly jealous because my BF cheated on me within 2 weeks of us making a commitment to being exclusive. I came to his home after a Bible study at my church on a Wednesday evening, he asked me to stop by and I walk into his kitchen to catch him feeling some girls butt, she moved quickly away and didn’t see me but when he did he yelled at me saying “Are you trying to sneak up on me? ‘ I was floored and hurt and should have turned around and left immediately but didn’t because after all we just started seeing each other but from that time on He has cheated on me several times and I leave but he always talks me into taking him back and blaming me for his wrong doing because I question his words (lies) and I just know in my gut. But now I’m the Morbidly Jealous one.? Never have I harmed him or threatened to harm him or the ladies he gets with.. so confused in California.

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