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Mediation vs. Litigation: Which One is Right for You?

In a divorce and other family law situations, the typical method of resolving issues is through traditional litigation. However, more people are opting to try a collaborative method of conflict resolution, known as mediation. Depending on the specific particulars of your case, mediation or litigation may be a better option for you, so it is important to understand the difference in order to make the most informed decision for you and others involved in your case. For more information about mediation and litigation, call a local attorney in your area today who has experience with both methods of conflict resolution.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a collaborative method of conflict resolution that focuses on solutions to legal issues that work for both sides and takes a more amicable approach to resolving conflict. Each side brings his or her own attorney to meet with a mediator outside of the courtroom, and the mediator is typically a retired judge or attorney with experience in your area of conflict. The mediator will speak with each side separately to identify the outstanding issues before beginning the mediation process. The mediator then goes between the sides negotiating a solution as well as suggesting unique ideas specific to your issues and needs.

If a solution is reached, the attorneys and the mediator will draft up a finalized agreement. If the mediation breaks down and a compromise cannot be reached, the process begins all over, using litigation methods in court. One added benefit of mediation is that mediation is completely confidential and nothing said during mediation negotiations can be used during the litigation process. In addition, the mediator cannot be called as a witness for either side to comment on anything said during the mediation. This process works best when both sides want to reach a compromise or will need to stay in communication after the mediation process, such as establishing a child custody and visitation schedule.

When Litigation Works Best

Mediation is not always the best option to resolve legal conflicts between parties. If one person has threatened or acted violently toward the other, mediation should not be used. In addition, if one side has made it clear that he or she will absolutely not compromise in the situation, you should consider using litigation instead of trying mediation first. One final situation in which litigation is the better option is if you believe that the other party will not be completely forthcoming or will attempt to hide or destroy evidence that may not be in their best interest in the case. Litigation is also the automatic option when mediation is tried first and fails, and the process begins as though the mediation never took place.

Talk to an Attorney Today

More and more people are opting to try mediation as a method for conflict resolution in legal matters, and it might be the right option for you. Call or contact us today to learn more about mediation and litigation services for your case.