Mediation offers many benefits including the opportunity for the parties involved to control the outcome of their dispute. In many cases it is the next logical step for reconciling differences. Here are some at-a-glance benefits of mediation.
Mediation is generally less expensive when contrasted to the expense of litigation or other forms of resolving differences. In mediation, the parties communicate directly with each other with the help of a mediator rather than through attorneys as in the litigation model, which increases cost.
In an era when it may take as long as a year to get a court date and multiple years if a case is appealed, the mediation alternative typically provides a more timely way of resolving disputes. When parties want to get on with business or their lives, mediation may be desirable as a means of producing rapid, and agreeable, results.
In most litigation situations, the dispute is really about two things — money and emotions. The money situation can best be handled in a way that focuses on financial matters, but the emotions need nurturing. In mediation, the focus is on creating a mutually agreeable solution between parties rather than driving them further apart. This also helps to reduce trauma to any children involved as they are often put in the middle of legal and psychological arguments.
The more time and money spent on litigation, the less likely either party will be satisfied in the outcome. Mediation offers a process whereby the parties craft their own agreement, as opposed to solutions that are imposed by a third party decision-maker.
Parties who have reached their own agreement in mediation are generally more likely to follow through and comply with its terms than those whose resolution has been imposed by a third party decision-maker.
Mediated settlements can address both legal and non-legal issues. Mediated agreements often detail procedures to be followed while taking into consideration the emotional needs and concerns of each party. The parties can tailor their settlement to their particular situation.
It may seem that the adversarial process can sometimes favor the side with the most money, power, and resources. In mediation, once an agreement is reached, the parties are usually left on their own to implement the agreement in a much easier manner.
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.
People who negotiate their own settlements often feel more in control than those who depend on others to represent them. Mediation negotiations can provide a forum for learning about and exercising personal power or influence, through the guidance of the mediator.
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.
Parties who mediate their differences are able to have input in the fine details of implementation. Agreements can include specially tailored procedures for how decisions will be carried out. This fact often enhances the likelihood that parties will actually comply with the terms of the settlement.
Mediated negotiations can result in settlements that are more satisfactory to all parties than simple compromise decisions.
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.