Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Courts often use it as a mandatory step before trial in civil cases. It is also an exceptional tool for resolving disputes between parties. It is highly effective in most cases, and mediators undergo extensive training to become impartial third parties who will do their very best to help individuals solve problems in a non-adversarial way.
Mediation is an informal and flexible process. While the disputing parties are not required to hire attorneys for mediation, most people do because attorneys have great negotiation experience. Remember that the mediator’s role is to facilitate a conversation and provide structure while remaining neutral.
Mediation is significantly less expensive than litigation, even if you hire attorneys for your mediation session. It is a faster process that allows the parties to solve their dispute, reach an agreement and move on with their lives.
Mediation is confidential. While this is the case in both court-ordered and private mediation, information can be private when you hire a mediator directly. In court-ordered mediation, the mediation agreement typically becomes part of an order accessible to the public unless the judge seals the record.
Why should you mediate your dispute?
You have greater agency over the disagreement or conflict. In mediation, the parties remain in control of the outcome. The parties do not have to agree to anything in mediation unless they want to. Due to the nature of this non-adversarial process, parties tend to get more of what they wish in mediation.
Mediation provides the opportunity for parties to preserve relationships. Nowadays, people must remain civil even if they disagree, and the mediator supports that in every step of the mediation process.
When parties reach an agreement in mediation, it is usually a much more satisfactory result than they would otherwise have because they came to that agreement together. Studies have shown that parties are less likely to violate the terms of mediation agreements partly because they have greater agency and active participation in solving the conflict.
Mediation is flexible, and so are its agreements. Almost anything can be negotiated, so long as it does not violate the law or go against public policy. Lastly, it is a civilized opportunity to address disputes in a way that seeks to avoid harm.