Mediation has existed for many years as a means of resolving conflicts and promoting harmony. In recent years, mediation has proven valuable in resolving divorce and child custody disputes. However, Minneapolis residents may be unaware of the various types of mediation that are available.
Minneapolis Judge Bruce Peterson has criticized one particular mediation type as one that does not promote the core values of mediation. The judge is highly skeptical of whether evaluative mediation retains the core values of harmony and personal responsibility noted for mediations. In an evaluative mediation, the mediator focuses on the legal strengths and weaknesses of the case, while advising the parties based on their assessment of how a judge or jury would rule. In this way, the mediator assists the parties in analyzing the cost/benefits of reaching an agreement from a purely legal perspective. The judge believes that evaluative mediation is just an alternative form of litigation because the parties are being coerced into a certain position based merely on legal arguments, much like the adversary system.