In many areas of law, especially family law, individuals can opt to use mediation instead of courtroom litigation to resolve their issue. Though this is not always an option, it does provide an alternative for those who wish to be active participants in the resolution of their problems. For many people, mediation is a way to collaborate rather than argue to reach a resolution.
Though it can be a wonderful option, mediation is not always a good way to approach a legal issue. In fact, there are disadvantages to mediation that are important to consider before you begin the process. Weighing the positive and negative aspects of mediation can help you to make a more educated decision about your legal issue.
What Is Mediation?
It is important to know the basics of mediation to best understand the advantages and disadvantages of the process. Mediation is a legal process that can replace courtroom litigation. The latter is when each side hires an attorney and they argue their case in front of a judge and, in some cases, a jury. Mediation, on the other hand, requires only one attorney. This person facilitates a conversation between the plaintiff and the defendant. The two individuals argue their own case rather than having an attorney argue for them. The mediator facilitates the conversation and helps them to come to a compromise or decision.
For example, in divorce, a couple may use mediation to split their assets and decide on a child custody schedule. During mediation, the couple discusses their situation directly with one another in the presence of a mediating attorney. This attorney helps to keep the conversation on track and aims to make sure that any decision made is fair and legal.
Disadvantages of Mediation
Mediation can seem like a great tool, but you need to know the negative aspects of the process before you decide to use it for your legal case.
- The Outcome May Be UnfairThough the mediating attorney will do their best to ensure that the outcome is fair to both parties, they cannot always guarantee that this will be the case. If one party knows more about mediation or can strategically hide information from the other individual, the outcome may not be equitable. Mediation requires a significant amount of trust, which is not always possible in a legal situation.
- There Are No Formal RulesMediation does not have any formal rules that a mediator must follow. What’s more, there are many ways to be trained as a mediator, so not all individuals will proceed in the same way. This means that you may reach a point of impasse during the mediation process without any guidelines about how to continue. This can slow or delay the process significantly.To combat this, you should always be sure that you are hiring a mediator with proper legal training. This way, you are not only getting a qualified mediator, but you are also getting a legal expert who can help you properly follow the law.
- The Truth Can HideYou should be aware that the entire truth may not be revealed during a mediation process. Though courtroom litigation allows for attorneys to call witnesses and subpoena evidence and records, mediation has no such system. It can be easy for individuals to hide information if they choose to do so, and you have few resources to stop them. You must trust the other individual in your case to navigate mediation with them.
- You May Not Reach a ConclusionIt is possible for your mediation process to not yield proper results. In these scenarios, the individuals invested a significant amount of their time, money, and effort for no outcome. This is disheartening and can put some people in a poor financial situation.
- Courtroom Litigation Is CompromisedIf your mediation case does not reach a resolution, you may have to move to courtroom litigation. However, if this happens, you will have shown your evidence and arguments in mediation. This means that your opponent will know what to expect and can better prepare their arguments. Courtroom litigation that follows mediation can be complicated and present significant issues to your case.
How to Navigate Mediation
If you do decide to use mediation, there are some steps you can take to stay safe and ensure the best outcome for your efforts. By following these tips, you can help to create a positive mediation experience:
- Use an AttorneyUse an attorney as your mediator if you choose to use mediation. This gives you the best legal resources and helps to prevent the mediator from mishandling the situation.
- Trust Your OpponentOnly enter into mediation if you trust your opponent. This is why divorce mediation is a common form of mediation; though divorcing spouses may not want to be married any longer, they generally trust one another on some level. Many couples retain enough trust to navigate mediation together.
- Explore CasesBe sure to read about mediation for cases like yours. Though the mediation process may work well for some types of legal scenarios, it does not work well for others. Explore your case type to determine if your case is compatible with mediation tactics. This can give you a more realistic idea of whether mediation is right for you.
Contact McCunn Law
If you are considering mediation for any legal situation, trust our experts at McCunn Law. We have mediated hundreds of cases in various areas of the legal system, giving us the experience and background to help you to navigate any issues that may arise. Because we are licensed attorneys, you can be sure that we will guide you in the right direction and help to make sure that your case is legal, fair, and thorough. Other mediators lack the experience and training that we have at McCunn Law, and our clients can see the difference. We have testimonials, references, and case files to prove our experience in mediation.
Trust us with your legal issues by calling or contacting us online today.