The Pros and Cons of Mediation

Mediation “Pros”

  1. Mediation usually saves time and money.
    Litigation can be very expensive and time-consuming. Start-to-Finish Mediation allows the parties to avoid hiring attorneys to prepare the divorce paperwork (the mediator prepares the paperwork with input from the parties) and attend court hearings and trial.
  2. Mediation is usually faster and more convenient than litigation.
    The parties can schedule mediation sessions at times convenient for them instead of being at the mercy of the court’s schedule.
  3. The parties control the final outcome with guidance from the mediator.
    The parties can reach a settlement that is right for them with the help of the mediator. The decision-making power is in the hands of the parties, not a judge.
  4. Mediation can help the parties have a cordial relationship going forward.
    Litigation is adversarial, pitting one party against the other. This naturally increases, rather than decreases, the conflict between the parties which is harmful to both children and the parties. Harsh statements made in court are hard to forget. The process of successfully working together to come to an agreement can help the parties create a cordial and respectful relationship going forward.
  5. Mediation is private.
    Mediation sessions occur in a private office, not in a public courtroom.
  6. Settlement negotiations are confidential.
    Settlement offers made in mediation are confidential. However, an accepted offer will be set forth in a written Stipulated Judgment or Marital Settlement Agreement which is usually made a part of the Judgment of Dissolution filed with the court. (Note: there are ways to keep portions of the parties’ settlement out of the public court file.)

Mediation “Cons”

  1. The mediator does not “decide” the case.
    The mediator provides legal information so the parties can make informed decisions about their divorce. The mediator does not represent either party, does not give legal advice, and does not “decide” the case.
  2. Settlement is not guaranteed.
    Although the mediator works hard to facilitate a settlement, the parties may not come to an agreement and end up going to trial anyway.
  3. Mediation may not save time and money.
    If the parties do not reach a settlement, they will have spent time and money on mediation and still end up going to trial. However, since the court requires a settlement conference anyway before a trial date will be set, mediation will satisfy this requirement.

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