Updated: Mar 12, 2018
Mediation is a method of resolving a dispute. Litigation (going to court) is another method of resolving a dispute. Mediation falls under the category of alternative dispute resolution because it is an alternative to litigation.
Mediation is a voluntary method of resolving a dispute. You may be ordered to go to mediation but the mediator won’t force you to agree to anything. At most, he will try to persuade you to agree; he can’t make you.
Mediation is also private. What is said in mediation, stays in mediation. Neither party is allowed to testify about it if mediation fails and the case goes to court. There are exceptions, however. For example, if you threaten the other party or there is evidence of child abuse, the mediator may be required to report it.
Another benefit of mediation is that it is often cheaper than litigation. Typically, you pay half the mediator’s fee. In addition, you may be losing time at work. You may have to pay a babysitter to take care of your child during mediation. Of course, if you have an attorney, you will have to pay her for the time spent at mediation representing you. Nevertheless, these costs are almost always cheaper than the hours of trial in addition to the pretrial work that your attorney may need to do.
Mediation is more likely than litigation to result in an arrangement that the parties follow because the parties reached an agreement rather than being told what to do by a judge.
Finally, mediation is almost always quicker than litigation. The court dockets are crowded. Some cases may take a year or more to get to trial. A mediation can be scheduled early on in the process and, if it works, your case may be resolved months ahead of when it might be resolved in court.
A list of the mediators on the roster for Whitfield County is posted on the Court’s website. Nancy is on the roster. According to a standing Order, mediation is required in all civil cases in Whitfield and Murray counties unless the parties reach an agreement before mediation.