When you are involved in a legal dispute, you might think you will be required to engage in a protracted litigation process in court. However, you might have alternative dispute resolution methods available. Mediation is an informal process held outside of court at which both parties can meet with a neutral third party called a mediator. The mediator is a professional who has been trained in the law and conflict resolution and serves as a neutral facilitator to try to help both sides reach a mutual agreement. Mediation is available to couples going through divorces or dealing with child custody disputes and can be a way to resolve your case outside of court. Why is mediation advantageous?
The Benefits of Choosing Mediation
When a couple is going through a divorce, they might agree to take their case to mediation or be ordered by the court to mediate their outstanding issues. While you might agree to attend mediation or be ordered by the court to try to mediate your differences, the court can’t force you and your spouse to settle in mediation. When you mediate your case, the mediator will not issue a binding decision. Instead, they will try to facilitate an agreement that is mutually agreeable to both of you. If you reach an agreement through mediation, you can file it with the court. It will be adopted by the judge in your final divorce decree.
So, why is mediation advantageous?
Faster Way to Resolve Your Legal Issues
A divorce or child custody dispute can drag on for months in court because of the court’s schedule. If you and your estranged spouse or the other parent of your child can’t agree on one or more issues, the litigation process might take even longer because of motions, hearings, and other events leading up to trial. By contrast, mediation can be scheduled and held much faster. It doesn’t depend on the court’s schedule. If you reach a mediation agreement, you also won’t have to go to trial because it will resolve all of your outstanding legal issues. In most cases, mediation takes anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. The litigation process up through trial can take many months or even a couple of years.
Mediation Is More Cost-Effective
If you can resolve your issues in mediation, it is a much more cost-effective method to handle your divorce than the litigation process. You and your spouse will have to pay a few hundred dollars for mediation. By contrast, the litigation process can become very expensive because of attorney’s fees and other litigation costs.
Mediation Preserves Confidentiality
When you litigate your case in court, it is a matter of public record. Anything you say in court can be used against you by your spouse during litigation. By contrast, mediation is confidential, and the statements you and your spouse make can’t later be used in a trial. For this reason, mediation might be a way for you and your spouse to resolve your case without publicly airing your differences.
You Might Be Happier with a Mediated Agreement
Even if you think you’re completely in the right, the court will likely issue decisions that are less-than-favorable to you. Most people who go through the divorce litigation process are unhappy with the court orders they receive. When you resolve your case through mediation, you and your spouse will have more control over how your issues are handled instead of leaving the decisions up to a judge who doesn’t know either of you.
A related benefit is that people are more likely to comply with a mediated agreement because they agree to it. This might mean that there will be fewer conflicts in the future.
Talk to an Experienced Lawyer
Why is mediation advantageous? If you want to end your marriage and think that mediation might be a good option, you should consult a family lawyer at the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave. We can review the facts of your case and explain whether mediation is appropriate. To learn more, call us at 417-322-2222 or contact us online.