Mediation is usually a voluntary process, although sometimes the court will order the parties to participate in mediation. During the mediation process, the mediator acts as a neutral to help the parties reach a resolution. The mediator does not have authority to make a decision in the case.
If you are unable to reach an agreement during the mediation process, the parties are free to continue negotiations outside of the mediation process (either through their attorneys or directly with one another). If no agreement can be reached, then the matter would be presented to a judge at trial and the judge would make a decision based on the testimony and evidence presented.
Nicole M. Bolan, Attorney at Law
Blado Kiger Bolan, Tacoma, Wash.