Litigation can often be an arduous and lengthy process – not to mention costly. This is not good if you don’t have a lot of money to blow on a divorce, nor if you want it done and dusted within 6 months. Divorce and for that matter any litigation can last two years or more if contested especially if it becomes acrimonious with lots of arguing between parties.
Most people are familiar with how litigation works: a conflict develops, the indignant party hires an attorney to issue court proceedings while the other party hires an attorney to defend his side of the story. Pre-trial discovery ensues, followed by more filings and motions and ultimately a court case follows, after which sometimes a review or appeal occurs. Litigation is expensive, time consuming, stressful and highly unpredictable for both parties involved.
Litigation does have its place and is often necessary when authority is needed on a matter and where money is not an issue. Under these circumstances, litigation makes sense. Otherwise mostly resolving disputes through mediation is preferable.
Here are 6 tips to consider when it comes to litigation vs mediation:
- Money – disputes are generally resolved at a much lower fee through mediation. Mediation won’t break the bank;
- Time – court dates are set far in advance. There is always the possibility of a postponement or a trial that runs over the course of a few days. The court system is gruelling and disputes are resolved much faster through mediation;
- Speaking for oneself – the court system does not normally allow for people in conflict to speak for themselves. In mediation all those involved have an opportunity to voice their perspectives on the dispute. Mediation encourages communication and is a more ideal environment for creating understanding;
- The Outcome – litigation involves a judge or magistrate deciding the outcome. In mediation the parties work together with a facilitator to determine the outcome and negotiate a settlement;
- Predictability – litigation is known to be unpredictable. It depends on which magistrate or judge you get and sometimes on how their day has run as a whole. Besides waiting for the outcome, parties don’t know what it will be. Mediation is a far better alternative, in this regard, for those who prefer certainty and predictability;
- Amicability – court cases can sometimes resemble a battlefield leaving parties on bad terms before, during and after trial. One party typically succeeds causing resentment. Mediation helps people and businesses preserve relationships.
Resolving disputes early through mediation allows both parties to avoid costly damages to their relationships and to their bank accounts.