The Benefits of Mediation and Collaborative Mediation and the Differences between the Two


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Jul 18, 2014

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is quickly becoming one of the most popular methods for resolving legal disputes. Instead of pursuing a lengthy trial that is expensive and can result in an outcome with which nobody is happy, ADR offers more efficient options for settling disputes. One of the more common ADR methods is mediation.

What is Mediation?
Mediation is a way to settle a dispute without litigation. It involves the disputing parties and a neutral third-party mediator. Often, disputes are settled in as little as a single mediation session, which might last only a few hours. Disputing parties have complete control of the resolution and the mediator is there only to ensure the resolution is legal and that the parties use effective communication and remain focused on resolution. Essentially, the mediator facilitates discussion so disputing parties can resolve a problem. If disputing parties believe they will need additional support during the mediating process, they have the option of choosing collaborative mediation. Like basic mediation, this process is efficient and keeps the control in the hands of the disputing parties, but it provides them with the support of a team of experts that offer counsel during the process. Each party can have his or her own legal representation, and other professional experts might also play a role in the process, including those familiar with financial, psychological, or real estate issues.

What are the Benefits of Collaborative Mediation?
In general, mediation is beneficial because it saves time and money. Collaborative mediation offers these benefits, but it is a better solution when cases are complex or when disputing parties are uncomfortable making legal decisions without sufficient resources. Collaborative mediation is solution oriented with the party’s needs and desires dictating a resolution. Although the parties may be represented by attorneys this is not an adversarial process but again a solution oriented process. For instance, if decisions are to be made during mediation about splitting marital property and the mediator is not an expert in real estate law, collaborative mediation allows an attorney or a real estate expert to provide information during the mediation process. Collaborative mediation is especially helpful during divorce proceedings because there are so many sensitive issues at play. Approximately 40% of divorcing couples are parents and just as concerned about the well-being of their children, as they are for their own. As parents you will always be connected in some fashion to the father or mother of your children. Both Mediation and Collaborative mediation help salvage a working relationship between the parties and provide the tools to go forward in the future. Divorce proceedings include a variety of issues and having expert advice from various fields helps make the decision-making process easier. According to Divorce Magazine, the average length of divorce proceedings is one year. Mediation can shorten this transition period, making it possible for families to move forward and begin their new lives. If you are involved in a legal dispute and you believe traditional litigation will do more harm than good, mediation is an option. Collaborative mediation provides a way to settle a dispute efficiently, but without the uncertainty you might feel using basic mediation.