Mediation is a court-approved process in which an impartial trained person facilitates the resolution of a dispute between two or more parties. It is a voluntary, informal, non-adversarial and confidential process which can help parties reach a mutually acceptable agreement. Most parties who choose the mediation option to resolve their conflicts are able to come to an agreeable outcome.
A mediator is a trained “neutral” professional who assists the parties in reaching a mutually acceptable resolution to their dispute. The mediator is impartial, neutral and unbiased. The mediator can help parties explore options and look at various outcomes. The mediator assists the parties in their negotiations. The mediator does not:
- make decisions for the parties
- provide legal advice, or
- provide psychotherapy
Mediation vs. Litigation
In New Jersey, as in most jurisdictions, nearly all (99+%) cases, both civil and family or divorce, are settled before going to trial. It is just a matter of when the matters will be settled … and how much time and expense it will take. For both civil and divorce matters, the court generally requires the matter to go through mediation as part of the court’s management of the case. The litigation process takes substantially more time and money. Parties opting for mediation can save themselves substantial time and expense and proceed at their own pace.
Benefits of mediation over litigation
The mediation process works to eliminate the “win-lose” atmosphere that is part of litigation and many disputes.
- Mediation generally produces results faster than litigation through the courts.
- Mediation is less expensive. There are no retainer fees and you control the expenditures.
- Mediation is voluntary for all parties. It is private and confidential and not part of the public record.
- Mediations are conducted in safe informal settings. There are no court reporters or recordings of the sessions.
- Mediation allows for creative problem solving. The parties control the outcome of the mediation.
- Mediation allows for open communication and can help improve on-going relationships.
- Mediation promotes understanding and compromise, and eliminates the “I win, you lose” atmosphere and outcome of a courtroom proceeding.