What Are the Benefits of Mediation?
There are many benefits to mediation. The most important benefit of mediation is that it gives you the opportunity to resolve your case without involving the huge costs, scheduling complications, enormous amounts of time, and emotional toll that the legal system demands. The following is a more specific list of benefits:
Avoid wasting time – The legal system requires a significant amount of time and effort to be successful. In addition to the days that you will need to appear in court for hearings and trial, you will also need to research and prepare for trial. Evidence must be submitted through the court required methods. Trial dates are usually many months in the future and require that several time-consuming criteria be met prior to trial. Mandatory criteria can be parenting classes, mediation, or other court ordered requirements. Both parties are required to meet these criteria and if either party fails to meet those requirements, your trial date may be pushed out even further.
Avoid the risk of losing at trial – You may think your case is a clear winner. Often the other party holds that same position. One of you will lose at trial, if not both of you. The legal system is not designed to support your emotional needs. It is designed to uphold the law. Often times legal statute is complicated and misunderstood by the average citizen. Often the courts would prefer that the parties reach an agreement that works of the parties.
Creative Resolutions – Mediation offers the opportunity to be creative about the resolution. Mediation is your opportunity to get the other party’s agreement to follow through with things that a judge may not be able to order. In mediation you can craft an agreement that is legally enforceable instead of proving your position through legal means and having a judge decide if you are right or wrong.
Economical – Mediation is generally much less expensive when contrasted to the expense of litigation or other forms of fighting.
Rapid Settlements – Mediation can bring resolution to your case immediately. Alternative dispute resolution such as mediation provides a more timely way of resolving disputes rather than having your case decided by a neutral third party on their timeline. When parties want to get on with their business or their lives, mediation is much more likely to produce rapid results.
Mutually Satisfactory Outcomes – Parties are generally more satisfied with solutions that they have had a say in and crafted with the other party, as opposed to solutions that are imposed them by a third party.
High Rate of Compliance – The data shows that parties that have crafted a mutually agreed upon resolution are more likely to follow through with the resolution they have had a say in. If the court awards a judgement, the parties are the ones that have to live with the outcome. If you are awarded the judgement, the judgement is all you get to put in your pocket. You may still need to collect on your judgement which can be pricey and sometimes impossible. If you have a judgement entered against you, your financial future may be adversely affected for a very long time. Parties are more likely to follow through with an agreement they have had a say in in mediation than a judgement that is imposed upon them.
Comprehensive and Customized Agreements – Mediated settlements are able to address both legal and extralegal issues. Mediated agreements often cover procedural and psychological issues that are not necessarily susceptible to legal determination. The parties can craft a resolution that works for both parties where a court of law can only decide based on law and the presentation of your case. Mediation allows you to be creative about the resolution rather than working only in the confines of the law.
Greater Degree of Control and Predictability of Outcome – Parties who negotiate their own settlements have more control over the outcome of their dispute. Gains and losses are more predictable in a mediated settlement than they would be if a case is arbitrated or adjudicated.
Personal Empowerment – People who negotiate their own settlements often feel more powerful than those who use surrogate advocates, such as lawyers, to represent them. Mediation negotiations can provide a forum for learning about and exercising personal power or influence.
Preservation of an Ongoing Relationship or Termination of a Relationship in a More Amicable Way – Many disputes occur in the context of relationships that will continue over future years. A mediated settlement that addresses all parties’ interests can often preserve a working relationship in ways that would not be possible in a win/lose decision-making procedure. Mediation can also make the termination of a relationship more amicable. Mediation moves parties toward resolution of their conflict rather than leaving the conflict in place when a judge decides who it right and who is wrong.
Workable and Implementable Decisions – Parties who mediate their differences are able to attend to the fine details of implementation. Negotiated or mediated agreements can include specially tailored procedures for how the decisions will be carried out. This fact often enhances the likelihood that parties will actually comply with the terms of the settlement.
Agreements that are Better than Simple Compromises or Win/Lose Outcomes – Interest-based mediated negotiations can result in settlements that are more satisfactory to all parties than simple compromise decisions.
Decisions that Hold Up Over Time – Mediated settlements tend to hold up over time, and if a later dispute results, the parties are more likely to utilize a cooperative forum of problem-solving to resolve their differences than to pursue an adversarial approach.