Many disputes cannot be resolved by the parties involved and must be litigated as a result. Litigation leaves the fate of the dispute in the hands of a judge or jury rather than in the hands of the interested parties.
For those who are interested in retaining maximum control over their circumstances, an alternative method of resolution involves using mediation. With this process, instead of going to court, both sides sit down with a mediator (and their attorneys) and work to find a solution. Why could this be a better approach than litigation in some situations?
A focus on cooperation
First and foremost, as noted above, the focus of mediation isn’t on winning or losing the case. Both sides cooperate to find a solution that works for each of them. While this may mean that both parties have to compromise, it can be better than litigating a case where only one side will get what they want and there is a risk of a wholly unfavorable outcome for one party or the other.
There’s more control
Similarly, litigation means giving up some element of control. When a homeowner and a general contractor have a dispute about a property or a home defect, for instance, litigating it means that they are allowing the court to make a decision. But mediation keeps that control with the parties who are involved, so they don’t have to simply hope that someone else will make the right ruling.
It is informal and confidential
In some cases, people want to stay out of court because such records are public and because everything is very formal and structured. But with mediation, the atmosphere is much more informal and all of the details of the case are kept confidential, rather than becoming a matter of public record.
It can be faster and cheaper
Every case is unique, of course, but mediation is often faster and costs less money than litigation traditionally does. Part of the reason for this is that the parties do not have to wait on the court’s schedule to get a court date. Since they are not dependent on others, they can get the process started right away, and a resolution may be reached much more quickly – which can help to keep costs down.
What option should you choose?
If you find yourself facing a contentious situation, know that there are advantages and disadvantages to both litigation and mediation. You just need to carefully consider the unique factors of your situation to determine what legal options are best at this time. Seeking legal guidance is a good way to gain this valuable clarity.