Mediation is strongly encouraged in our judicial system. There are many reasons for this, but the three fundamental differences between mediation and trial are:
Courts will get to you when they have availability, which in our backlogged judicial system, can be for months on end. Mediation can be arranged relatively quickly, provided everyone has all the information they need to discuss the issues. Agreements reached in mediation can then be presented to the court for final approval and you may never have to set foot inside the courthouse.
You know your lives better than the judge will. You know what you value most and what is fundamentally fair, whereas the judge will need to try and become an expert on the major issues in a relatively short amount of time. You are handing major aspects of your life over to a complete stranger and hoping for the best. In mediation, you have more control of the outcome and can come up with inventive, outside-the-box solutions to resolve complex issues.
Furthermore, you feel better knowing you were part of the solution instead of just hoping that the judge agrees with you.
Mediation is infinitely less expensive than litigation. To take a case all the way to trial can be an immense financial burden, whereas if the parties can cooperate and get through the mediation process, they will spend a fraction of the cost. Even though a judge is “free” and a mediator will charge you a fee, if both parties are represented by counsel having a “free” judge
means thousands in attorney’s fees by the time the dust settles.
Sometimes mediation is not appropriate. In situations of complex legal questions or in cases where there is abuse between the parties, working together just may not be realistic. But more often than not, mediation is a superior method for legal resolution in almost every measurable way