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Mediation: An Alternative Dispute Resolution

The cost of litigation is significantly increasing and even seemingly straightforward family law matters can go from affordable to overwhelming. Alternate ways to handle your matter can help defray the costs of court proceedings and aid in resolving the issue without the stress of a hearing.

A very convenient option is mediation. This is a great alternative to costly litigation focuses on the two disputing parties discussing the matter with the help of a mediator to work out the issues between them to come to an agreement or resolution. The mediator is an unbiased third party (an attorney), who is there to facilitate negotiations between both parties.

The process of mediation begins with the mediator’s opening statement, where introductions and explanation of the rules and the goals are addressed. It is optimal for the involved parties to agree to work cooperatively toward a resolution. After introductions, each party is able to tell their side of the story, how the issues between both sides affected them, and give any potential resolutions that they think would work. After each side has had his or her say, the mediator will talk with both parties to determine the specific issues that need resolution.

After the initial discussion, there is an opportunity for each side to meet with the mediator separately to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of his or her position and to think about different suggestions for the settlement. While the mediator speaks with both parties to discuss potential ways to settle the disputes, he or she also gets a more structured idea about what kind of negotiation will have the best result between the two sides.

Once each party has spoken with the mediator individually, everyone comes back together and negotiates based on everything the mediator has heard and discusses which each side. If an accord is reached, the mediator can put the main details of the agreement in writing while those involved ensure the arrangement is accurately documented. From there, either both parties can sign the agreement or they may take a copy to their lawyers for review. Though the mediator is an impartial, unbiased person trying to help resolve your dispute, there may be a key point or a phrase missing from the agreement that could make all the difference.  If an agreement is not reached, the mediator will explain the options going forward, including another mediation date, arbitration, or suggest going to court.

Mediation provides an alternative to litigation and avoids the overwhelming feeling of attending a court hearing in front of a judge. Though mediation works specifically to help resolve the issues between both parties, it may be helpful to seek the assistance of an attorney to help you decide if mediation or another alternate dispute resolution is right for your legal issues. Contact attorneys Esq. to help you determine whether an alternate dispute resolution is right for your matter. Call today at (732) 422-1000.