So, you may have been told by the court, your attorney, or maybe a counselor that you should or have to do mediation. Perhaps you have a lawsuit, a conflict, or a divorce, and as part of that, somebody’s telling you that you have to do mediation or that you should do mediation. That may be the reason why you’re inquiring about that process. So, what is mediation? How does it help you? How does it create an obstacle for you?
The Nature of Mediation
Mediation is a process where a third-party, unbiased person helps you solve the conflict without having to go to court or pay legal fees. It is done in complete privacy, unlike a court hearing where all evidence is in the public record. Mediation is conducted privately, with discretion and confidentiality. The mediator, sometimes called a neutral or arbitrator, is not on any one person’s side.
The Role of Mediator
Unlike your attorney, who may be trying to negotiate for you or settle a case with the other party, they have your interest in mind only. However, this one-sided approach may eliminate possible solutions that would be acceptable and beneficial to you overall.
The Requirement of Mediation
Don’t view the requirement of mediation as a negative. It’s a step that can enable a solution. Either way, your conflict is going to have some solution, whether it’s through court, a jury, or other means. Mediation is a voluntary process that gives you control over information exchange, unlike court proceedings.
The Advantages of Mediation
Mediation allows you to avoid the time-consuming and costly aspects of litigation, such as court appearances, depositions, discovery, testimony, and expert witnesses. Your attorney likely prefers settling or mediating in advance, as the billable hours associated with court proceedings are not ideal for them.
An Opportunity for a Mutual Solution
Look at mediation as an opportunity to come up with a mutually beneficial solution. Consider the anxiety, stress, and conflict that have already arisen from your case. Mediation can help eliminate these negative impacts and allow you to move on with your life.
Your Day in Mediation
You might be thinking, “I want my day in court; I want my opinions heard.” In mediation, you have the floor to express your thoughts. You can still tell the world what happened, but unlike a court, it maintains privacy, preventing the other side from countering your public statements.
Dispelling the Slam Dunk Myth
Even if you believe your case is a slam dunk, mediation can produce the same results as court litigation. Mediation is not an extra burden or a slowdown; it’s designed to take a shortcut to the solution.
Mediation vs. Litigation
Whether you’re in a low-level dispute, small claims court, divorce, probate, or large-scale litigation, mediation is an opportunity to short-circuit the drama, expense, and other problems associated with litigation. It’s a chance to avoid the time-consuming and information-revealing aspects of court proceedings.
The Long Way vs. the Shortcut
Court litigation is the long way to get to a solution, while mediation is the shortcut. Even if your mediation doesn’t conclude immediately, it may set the stage for a successful settlement later. Remember, you can walk away from mediation, but you can’t walk away from a court judgment.
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