Benefits of Mediation
There are a number of significant benefits of mediation. 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. The mediator or a lawyer usually prepares the documents once an agreement is reached and files it with the court. 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 that you agree with the settlement.
Faster Agreements. Litigated cases can take as little as six months and as long as several years. Budget cuts have caused courts to reduce staff and even cut the number of days courts are open. This increases the court’s backlog and means that it will take longer than ever to get your “day in court.” Mediation, by comparison, occurs on the participants’ timeline. Cases often resolve in a few months (sometimes less) because mediation is an inherently efficient process.
Mediation is Convenient. Mediation clients work with the mediator to schedule a time that works well for everyone. In litigation, the court schedules hearings, trial dates, etc., with little (if any) input from the clients.
Voluntary Process. Mediation is a voluntary process. Any participant can discontinue mediation at any time and for any reason. While KeepOutOfCourt.com focuses on voluntary processes, there may be situations where parties are required to mediate.
Client Control. Mediation clients decide the terms of their own agreement. The mediator facilitates the negotiation, but the clients make the decisions. There is no final agreement unless both clients agree to it. Participants are able to make sure that a some third party who doesn’t know them (a judge) makes a decision they may disagree with.
Reduced Cost. Traditional litigation is very expensive and the total cost is highly unpredictable. Litigation clients run the risk of having to pay the other side’s attorney fees. Mediation is far less expensive because you spend your time actively working on resolving your case rather than filing motions, etc. Mediation costs are fairly 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 the mediation process. It is more likely they will abide by their agreements because they helped create the agreement. Litigation is expensive, stressful and uncertain. Litigation clients are typically dissatisfied with the litigation process even if they are satisfied with the outcome.
Maintain Privacy. Mediation is a private process. Sessions usually takes place in a mediator’s office or a lawyer’s office rather than in a public courtroom. Mediation clients are generally 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 – mediation allows you to avoid this.
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 the other benefits of mediation may be more important to you than those listed here.