The Advantages of Mediation Over Litigation
Mediation saves you money and time.
Mediation is far less expensive than the cost of litigation. Parties can easily spend 10 to 20 times more litigating their case compared to mediation. In Maricopa County, divorce litigation costs are often estimated at $18,000 per spouse on average. Most attorneys require a large retainer. Billing occurs in 15 minute increments. Mediation fees are literally a fraction of the cost and The Aurit Center takes an all-inclusive approach to billing. Mediation can be concluded in one or several short sessions, as opposed to litigation, which often takes more than a year to conclude.
Mediation is successful.
The vast majority of cases that enter mediation are successfully settled out of court. No one loses in mediation. Mediation produces “win-win” agreements where both parties feel satisfied with the outcome. In litigation, both parties are usually unhappy with the results.
Mediation is confidential and private.
What happens in mediation, stays in mediation. Arizona law protects mediation confidentiality. In litigation, court matters are on public record.
You stay in control and find solutions for your needs.
Every situation is different and unique. Mediation is personally tailored for how you want and need to move forward. Courts, however, do not generally have the time or resources to gain an understanding of your needs. In mediation, spouses remain in control of the outcome and timeline. In litigation, attorneys, who may project their own bias or judges who render final decisions, often without fully understanding all relevant issues or your circumstances.
It is far less stressful and better for you emotionally.
Litigation is an all-consuming, confrontational process that can cause extreme stress and negatively affect your health and well-being. Mediation is cooperative. It is based on problem solving. Parties experience far less stress and report higher levels of well-being in mediation.
It preserves respectful interactions between parties.
Litigation causes escalation and ruins relationships. Mediation produces de-escalation and encourages respectful interaction. It is particularly beneficial for divorcing spouses when children are involved.
The Problem: Nobody Wins and Conflicts Remain
Litigation hurts families. Courts are backlogged. People on both sides of the system are exhausted. Parties who enter divorce litigation are drained by the high financial and emotional costs associated with attorney fees and the harsh battles that take place within our court system. People often spend more money, time, and energy to litigate their disputes than their case is worth. Stress on spouses, children, and families can be devastating. Years of fighting are common. Sometimes disagreements are simply not suitable for court, but people don’t know where else to turn.
The court system produces winners and losers. But even winners seldom feel that they have “won” at the end of the process. Parties relinquish control over their disputes to a judge or jury. What people need is often ignored. In court, relationships between parties can be destroyed. The adversarial court process leaves little room for parties to wind up better off than where they started. It leaves even less room for parties to be satisfied with the outcome. A case may end, but the underlying conflict between parties can remain. The result of litigation injures relationships and can cause harm to everyone involved.
The Better Solution: Conflict Resolution through Mediation
Mediation is a process for resolving a case or dispute without going to court. A neutral mediator helps parties reach a mutual agreement, sometimes called a settlement. In mediation, parties are able to discover and discuss options that create an opportunity for a settlement in which both parties win.
In Divorce Mediation, spouses work with a mediator to agree upon all issues that a court would decide: spousal support, child support, division of assets, and a child custody agreement—called a “parenting plan” in mediation. A mediator, often an attorney and preferably one with a background in dispute resolution, will facilitate communication and negotiation in order to resolve all issues.
Mediators do not decide who is right or wrong. The decision to settle or come to a mutually acceptable agreement is always up to the parties. You stay in control. Mediation is voluntary and confidential. It is designed to preserve your wants and needs as much as possible. Through mediation, parties often come to a better understanding of one another’s perspective while reaching an ultimate settlement. At The Aurit Center your mediator will facilitate communication and manage the flow of dialogue between the parties in order to reduce obstacles to communication, explore creative solutions, and reach a mutually acceptable agreement.
A mutually acceptable agreement means that there are no losers—both parties stay in control of their own future by agreeing to the terms of their own judgment, rather than a judge or jury determining the party’s fate. Nationally, mediation is successful in an estimated 80-90% of cases. Moreover, parties actually comply with at least 90% of mediated agreements, which is far greater compliance than with court orders. Satisfaction with mediation is so high because participants have power over the process and ownership of the results. The mediation process allows people to heal and leaves them with a sense of respect for themselves and one another.
Traditional litigation is a mistake that must be corrected. For some disputes, trials will be the only means, but . . . [o]ur system is too costly, too painful, too destructive, too inefficient for really civilized people.