How does mediation differ from a lawsuit?
In a lawsuit, each person (or party) is represented by an individual lawyer who “fights” for them. Often, communication takes place only through the lawyers. The process is adversarial rather than collaborative, and sometimes disagreements get worse. Many people find it very stressful to have final decisions be up to a judge rather than within their own control.In mediation, the focus is on finding a “win-win” solution. The mediator helps the parties communicate, think creatively, and reach decisions that work for everyone. Many people choose mediation because they want to minimize fighting, preserve relationships, and feel more in control of the final outcome.
Do I have to give up my right to sue?
What if I change my mind?
Choosing mediation does not mean that you give up your right to go to court. If you decide that mediation is not right for your situation or if you are not completely pleased with the mediation process, you can stop at any time, hire an attorney, and proceed with the litigation process. Mediation is not binding until a final agreement is signed. (See the ABOUT MEDIATION tab for more information).
Which is quicker – mediation or court?
Mediation takes less time than litigation, in part because you don’t have to wait for court dates and meetings can take place on your schedule. Research on divorce shows that mediation usually takes months, whereas litigation time can be measured in years.
Which costs more?
In almost all cases, mediation saves money. Studies show that a litigated divorce can cost 5-10 times as much as a mediated divorce. A July 2005 article in Money magazine reported that divorce trials cost $20,000 to $50,000, compared to $3,000 to $10,000 for divorce mediation.
Are there other differences between mediation and litigation?
Often people focus on what they might “win” from litigation, but they don’t think about how much time, upheaval, and uncertainty they’ll experience in the meantime. Conflict is stressful and can take a toll on your health and well-being. A quicker solution may be more valuable in the long run and let you shift your focus to moving forward.Since mediated agreements are only finalized when both parties approve, people also report higher rates of satisfaction with these agreements vs. court decisions. Mediated agreements also have higher rates of compliance. That is, people are more likely to honor the agreement and follow through with paying in full, following visitation schedules, etc.
When is mediation not a good option?
Mediation is not an appropriate option when there has been intimidation, violence, or abuse in the relationship. If you’re wondering whether mediation is right for you, call 203-702-1113 or 914-861-6781 for a free consultation, or click here.