is a formal process whereby a neutral third party (the mediator), who has no authoritative decision-making power, intervenes in a dispute to help the disputants voluntarily reach their own mutually acceptable agreement. A mediator usually does not provide any advice or recommendations, nor make any decisions for the parties. The parties make their own decisions and create their own outcomes. Mediation takes a few hours to a few days to complete and tends to cost considerably less than arbitration or litigation.