What is Mediation? Why do people Mediate?

Mediation is often used as a first attempt to resolve marital disputes before relying on a court to determine the outcome. Mediation refers to the process where a third-party intervenes between the two divorcing parties (not always a divorce, mediation can be used just when there are two opposing sides as well) and attempts to establish a compromise between the two parties. People mediate for a number of different reasons. Mediation is generally used only in civil disputes and not criminal disputes, and allows each side to put forth their own opinions. Mediation is often used when there are contractual disputes, employment disputes, disputes with landlords and their tenants and anything involving divorces or child support.  The parties can select their own mediator or they can ask the court to appoint one. A simple search will bring up a number of mediators in your area and the best one to help you mediate can be selected through further research or even a meeting with the mediator to determine if both parties believe the mediator to be fair and neutral. If you want to check out the American Bar Association’s overview of mediation it can be found here.

The Difference Between Mediation & Litigation

Litigation is of course more expensive than mediation and involves the state or federal courts. Litigation also involves attorneys, the process of gathering evidence, discovery, and lots of time.  Although litigation is required in most situations or if any other means of coming to an adequate compromise does not seem likely. Litigation also takes the decision-making from the two parties and places it within the sole hands of the judge. Meanwhile, mediation allows the parties to create compromise or come to a solution that the court may not have come too. Moreover, the information disclosed in mediation is kept private and not open to the public, as it would be in a courtroom. There are other attributes bout mediation such as:

  • Mediation costs less than litigation
  • Mediation tends to be shorter (anywhere from half a day to a couple of weeks)
  • Mediation allows for private information to stay private
  • Mediations can have attorneys but are not necessary required

The Difference Between Mediation & Arbitration

A mediator doesn’t have the power to create a binding decision; such a final decision comes from a mutual agreement between the two parties. In an arbitration, the arbitrator does have the ability to make a binding decision, and thus acts similar to a judge. The decision is also legally binding and can only be appealed by going to court.  Arbitration is nearly identical to court with witnesses, research and documentation, evidence and a legally binding decision. The arbitrator hears arguments from both sides and then makes a decision. Arbitration, thus, naturally, requires the presence of attorneys to help make the process more understanding for each party.

Family Law Additional Information

  • If you want information on how to file a divorce check out our article here on steps for filing a divorce.
  • If you want information or would like to help your children learn about divorce we have an article for that too here.
  • It’s also important to understand that children also have rights in a divorce. You should review those in our recent article.
  • If you’re looking about information for a separation agreement we got you covered, this article we made explains it.
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