A man contemplating while a mediator talks to him with his wife looking on.

Why Choose Mediation Instead of Court?

A mediator is a completely neutral third-party expert who assists the parties in coming to their own resolution to a dispute. An effective mediator will have experience both with the process of mediation itself as well as with the specific legal issues involved in your case.

Why would you choose to try mediation when you could instead take your dispute to a court hearing. There are numerous advantages of mediation over court, and not all of them are obvious at first glance:

(1) Mediation is quicker. Courts move at a slower pace, and even this pace has been further slowed by COVID. In mediation, you get to schedule the time that the mediation session occurs.

(2) In court the judge’s decision is binding. In mediation, you have a say in the outcome and nothing gets decided without your consent.

(3) Mediation is typically much cheaper than court.

(4) Court involves “discovery” procedures where each party forces the other to make information available in advance of the court hearing. Mediation can involve more reasonable and limited information sharing as agreed by both parties.

(5) You can choose the specific mediation that you want to work with, as agreed by the other party.

(6) You can research potential mediators and select one who has a specific skillset and style that appeals to you. Some mediators are facilitators while other will suggest solutions.

(7) Since the other side has agreed to mediate with you, they are more likely to comply with the agreed settlement terms after mediation.

Research shows that a very high percentage of disputes settle in mediation and eliminate the requirement that these parties appear in court.

The next steps? Ask your lawyer about mediation or ask your opponent to consider mediating your dispute.

For more information about the benefits of mediation, access this article by California attorney Katherine Vescera.

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