The legal system in our county is overcrowded and expensive.  Lawsuits can drag on for years, can be ridiculously expensive, and can ruin the relationships of the parties involved.  This is why many people have been turning to mediation and/or arbitration to resolve their disputes.  The process is quick, friendly, and cost-effective.  If the dispute is with someone that you’ll want to deal with in the future, such as an employer, co-parent, landlord, or neighbor, mediation and/or arbitration can resolve your disagreement without destroying your relationship. 

Mediation / Arbitration will save you money.  If the parties choose mediation/arbitration as an alternative to a court battle, this money stays with the parties instead of going to the lawyers. 

If you are already involved in a lawsuit, mediation allows the parties to resolve their dispute and leave the court system behind.  Lawyers sometimes becomes so focused on winning that they lose sight of what is important their clients.  Mediation allows the parties to speak for themselves in a confidential environment.

What is Mediation

Mediation is a voluntary method of dispute resolution that allows parties to craft their own solution to a dispute. An unbiased third party (the mediator) assists the parties in this process by conducting private interviews and negotiations with each party to discuss settlement opportunities and facilitate an agreeable solution. Mediators never impose decisions on disputing parties; rather, they encourage disputing parties to find common ground and resolve their dispute on their own terms.

Mediation is an alternative to the traditional investigative and litigation processes. Mediation is an informal process in which a trained mediator assists the parties to reach a negotiated resolution of their dispute.  The mediator does not decide who is right or wrong and has no authority to impose a settlement on the parties. Instead, the mediator helps the parties to jointly explore and reconcile their differences.  These is not a winner and loser in mediation, and the process is concluded when all parties feel satisfied with the proposed solution.

What is the difference between mediation and arbitration?

Both mediation and arbitration are ways you and your spouse can resolve any differences between you without going to court. And many of us tend to merge them in our minds. Don't. Mediation and arbitration are very different ways of resolving differences.

A mediator has no power to impose a decision on the parties involved. He or she is there solely to help the find a resolution that both of them will find acceptable. If they cannot agree, that's as far as the mediator can go.

An arbitrator, on the other hand, has the power to impose a settlement. The arbitrator listens to the arguments each party presents, and then renders a ruling. Typically, the parties will agree in writing to submit to arbitration before the process begins. They will agree in advance to be bound by the arbitrator's decision, whatever it is.

There is a popular process which combines mediation and arbitration called “med/arb.”  In this situation, the parties agree to go through mediation and attempt to reach a solution.  However, they also agree that if they cannot reach a resolution, the mediation will automatically become the arbitrator and he/she will decide and make a binding resolution for the parties.