Trying to solve a bitter divorce dispute with your ex-spouse is never easy. Neither is settling a complaint against a trouble-making neighbor. Legal charges are messy, often leading to a matter of your word against theirs.
Mediation is an option that allows you to avoid the court system and its labyrinth of laws. You also do not have to worry about interacting with a bunch of strangers in a public setting.
What is mediation?
Mediation settles disputes in an informal, private setting that still carries legal weight. A neutral third party helps you and the other party reach an agreement that is acceptable to all.
The process opens with the mediator explaining the guidelines, followed by opening statements. You then meet in private with the mediator and the other party before beginning negotiations. In the end, the parties sign a binding agreement.
Common issues mediation can handle include:
- Child custody
- Family disagreements
- Clashes with neighbors
- Labor versus management issues
- Landlord-tenant conflicts
- Business partner disputes
Why is mediation better than court or a lawsuit?
Most importantly, mediation is confidential. There are no spectators, unlike a public court. What the parties say is private and cannot become part of a lawsuit in the future.
The process is less costly without court fees. It also is much quicker than a lawsuit, which can drag on for years. You may settle your case in a matter of a few hours.
No judge or jury is deciding your fate. Mediation allows you, in effect, to make up your own rules. The other party must agree, of course, but you are not bound by the regulations and procedures of the court system. You also are less likely to experience any legal surprises.
Why can you expect a better outcome?
With mediation, you are working with the other party. Instead of behaving like adversaries in a “win or lose” scenario, you seek an amicable deal.
As long as you know the rules, mediation is a welcome alternative for many people. You still have to prepare, but you can expect less drama.