Mediation has some huge advantages over more adversarial approaches, such as suing others and going to court:
- Mediation is private; none of your discussions or supporting documents become public.
- Mediation is not an adversarial process. People are not pitted against one another, hoping to win at the expense of the other. People work together to figure out how best to resolve their issues and walk away satisfied with the solutions they have come up with. Many people who use mediation can protect and even rebuild their relationships so that they can work together in the future.
- Mediation can be tailored to the needs of the parties. Some participants do not want to meet face-to-face. Mediators will work with the parties to design a process that is comfortable and safe for everyone.
- Mediation is fast. While you might wait months to get a trial date, and that is after all the preliminary legal work, you can usually meet with a mediator within a week and, if all parties are willing to participate, have the process in place soon after that. Mediation can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days depending on the complexity of the issues and the parties’ situation.
- The meditated agreement can only contain those terms agreed to by the parties. The mediator cannot impose any conditions or solutions.
- The options from which the parties choose to resolve their conflict are endless and are not bound by legal precedents or statutes. The parties have the power to create and choose their own solutions to the conflict, limited only by their imagination and sense of what is fair in the situation.
- Mediated agreements can be left as informal agreements between the parties or can be made legally binding. Not everyone wants a contract or court order.
- Mediation is cost effective. Mediator fees are often much less than those charged by other professionals and are shared between the parties. The streamlined, collaborative nature of mediation also means fewer billable hours.