Legal Guide

Maybe It’s Time to Consider Mediation

Your dispute seems to be going nowhere as, understandably, neither party wants to bend the knee for the other and potentially lose more than they perceive they have to gain.

“In times like this where neither party feels they are being understood or respected, and as a result are unwilling to reach some sort of settlement or agreement, perhaps it is best to begin considering mediation," says attorney Shawna Woods of Atlanta Divorce Law Group.

What Exactly Is Mediation?

Mediation is an example of alternative dispute resolution, known more commonly by its acronym ADR, whose family of alternatives includes others such as arbitration, neutral evaluation, negotiated rulemaking, and minitrials. 

The aim of these alternatives is to present different avenues for disputing parties to reach an agreement, thus, potentially eliminating the hassle of advancing to a trial, and all the baggage that comes along with one: great expense and waste of time. 

Mediation is a process where a third party, a mediator, will be introduced to the disputing parties. And although mediation is, in most cases, a voluntary initiative, at times, it can be court-ordered or enforced by specific rules and statutes to have the disputing parties engage in mediation.

The Role of a Mediator

It is important to understand that the mediator does not have the same authority as, say, a judge or jury, hence cannot decide an outcome and enforce a decision. The mediator exists to be an impartial agent, far removed from the situation, unlike the initial parties, and as a result, can foster an environment conducive to those involved in the dispute.

Examples of Disputes Mediation Can Potentially Solve

Mediation is most appropriate in cases where the parties involved, yes, have a disagreement, but would otherwise wish to remain acquainted, such as in cases between family members, neighbors, or business associates. Mediation can also be applicable in disputes where the parties involved cannot help but respond with heightened emotions, and as a result, their vision and tolerance may become compromised.

Below are examples of cases appropriate for mediation:

  • Minor business disputes
  • Family law disputes
  • Labor union concerns
  • Breach of contract
  • Personal injury cases

The Advantages of Mediation

Mediation brings with it plenty of advantages, and so is at least worth consideration in a dispute that seems to be going nowhere.

Mediation:

  • Is informal. Mediation does not bring with it the ‘pomp,’ so to speak, of going to trial and facing a judge or a jury 
  • Is cost-effective. Compared to the expenses taking your dispute to court can accumulate, mediation is the far more cost-effective route
  • Is timely. Mediation, depending on how proficient your mediator is, and other factors, can be a far less time-investing endeavor than meeting the other party in court
  • Is respectable of the characters involved; a mediation acknowledges the parties’ desire to maintain a relationship after the dust has settled
  • Is confidential. A mediator will not disclose anything discussed during these sessions, and anything that arises is observed as without prejudice, thus, cannot be presented as evidence before any later, potential tribunal

Key Takeaways

Mediation can offer the development you wish to see in a dispute that has seemingly come to a halt. And given the overall ‘low-risk’ nature of mediation, it is certainly worth considering before other drastic measures are taken, or any important relationships are tarnished.


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