Benefits of Mediation
There are a number of significant benefits of mediation. You will find that Collaborative Law shares many of these same benefits as well. Some of the benefits of mediation include:
Avoid Court. Mediation clients typically do not go to court. At the end of the case the mediator or a lawyer will prepare all of the paperwork and file it with the court (usually, but not always). . A judge will then review and sign your judgment. Depending on your jurisdiction you still might have to make a brief court appearance just to tell the court what the agreement is or that you agree with the mediated agreement that has been reached.
Faster Agreements. Litigated cases can take as little as six months and as long as several years. Recently, nationwide budget cuts have required courts to reduce staff and even cut the number of days courts are open, all of which means it will take longer to actually get to court. Mediations, on the other hand, occur on the participants’ timeline and can therefore be done far quicker, often in as little as a couple of months (or less).
Client Control. Mediation clients decide the terms of their own agreement with the assistance of the mediator. There is no final agreement unless both clients agree to it. Mediation allows you to eliminate the possibility that a judge will order something that makes no sense to you.
Reduced Cost. Traditional litigation is very expensive and the total cost is highly unpredictable. Additionally, litigation clients are often required to pay the other side’s attorney fees as well. Mediation costs far less because the focus is on constructive resolution, not “destroying” the other side. Mediation is far less expensive because you spend your time actively working on resolving your case rather than filing motions, etc. Further, mediation costs are predictable because you are present for most (if not all) of the time the mediator spends on your case.
Greater Client Satisfaction. Mediation participants report a high degree of satisfaction with both the process of mediation and the mediated agreements they reach. Even if a litigation client is satisfied with the outcome, they are typically dissatisfied with the cost, stress, uncertainty and acrimony associated with litigation. Further, if one litigant is happy with the outcome, that usually means the other litigant is unhappy and may file an appeal.
Maintains Privacy. Mediation is a private process which usually takes place in a mediator’s office or a lawyer’s office rather than in a public courtroom. Generally speaking, mediation clients are allowed to decide what goes into the paperwork (which still becomes public record). In litigated cases you often have ugly allegations and personal information that ends up in the public record, whereas mediation allows you to avoid that.
Preservation of Relationships. Whether in business or in family disputes, preservation of relationships can be a key benefit of mediation. Mediation helps participants focus on effectively communicating with one another as opposed to attacking one another.
These are just some of the main benefits of mediation. Of course, there are many other benefits as well, some of which may be more important to you than those listed here.