What makes mediation successful in resolving legal disputes?
Mediation has a number of advantages in resolving familial or business disputes. These include the following:
- Mediation is less adversarial and therefore may be less emotionally taxing than litigation
- Mediation is considerably less costly than litigation
- Mediation employs a third party trained in the art of compromise
- Mediation takes much less time than litigation in our notoriously overburdened courts
- Mediation may be mandated by some contracts
While not all legal disputes can be resolved through mediation, a great many can. As long as the parties have decided to be cooperative and somewhat flexible, and the mediator is experienced as a neutral facilitator, the experience can be much less stressful than courtroom confrontation. Having an accomplished attorney as a mediator is a plus because you are ensured that the negotiated agreement will be legally binding.
Rules of the Road
In order for mediation to work, both parties must be aware of the need for rules of negotiation and best behavior and try hard to follow them.
- Participants must have authority to make decisions
When a couple is divorcing, each has authority to agree or disagree with aspects of a settlement. When business is involved, however, it is important that the person negotiating is authorized to make final decisions. Otherwise, the mediation will be fruitless. While phone or Skype mediation sessions can be arranged, physical presence of both parties is preferable.
- All pertinent documents must be present
Without documentation -- mortgages, leases, business contracts, and policies that can be examined and discussed -- no real progress can be made.
- Both parties, in spite of their differences, must be willing to compromise
In order for mediation to be successful, the goal is resolution, so each party must be willing to look at the situation from the other party's point of view. Unless there is give as well as take, the negotiation won't work. It is necessary for both parties to try to move to a more neutral position from which they can both work toward results that serve both parties' interests.
- Both parties should be respectful of one another
Not only is being respectful ethical and socially appropriate, but it is also in your best interest. Insult only fuels dispute and makes the other party less likely to agree or consent to making concessions. Moreover, disrespect is likely to be reciprocated and the risk of arguments becomes greater.
- Both parties should keep their emotions under control
During mediation, emotions can become heated, but the more you can keep your frustration and/or anger under control, the more you will defuse the other party's negative emotions. I It pays to remember that you are both working toward the same goal, that you both agreed to participate in this process, and that neither of you will get the totality of what you want. The more patient and accommodating you are, the more likely you are to get rewarded by cooperation.
If you are looking for an attorney to mediate a familial or business dispute please consult with our excellent family law or business attorneys at Ianniello Anderson. We serve clients in the Albany, Clifton Park, Glens Falls, Saratoga Springs, Troy, and the entire Northeastern NY areas and can be reached at (518) 350.7755.