Mediation provides a cheap alternative option for dispute resolution. Mediation is a dispute resolution process in which conflicting parties employ the services of an independent third person to guide them through a process of negotiation and eventually an agreement on how to resolve the conflict between them. The mediator owns the process, while the conflicting parties own the content. One of the advantages of mediation is that the conflicting parties determine the outcome of the process. In other options, i.e. litigation or formal adjudication, the judge or adjudicator determines the outcome of the conflict. In litigation, there are a winner and a loser. One party (or often both parties) remains unhappy, and have to carry the psychological burden of unmet needs.
Another advantage of Mediation is that it is much cheaper and quicker than formal processes, i.e. litigation. If both parties opt for a mediated process, they are normally motivated enough to commit themselves to find ways to resolve the conflict. The fees of one mediator are cheaper than that of two attorneys.
A mediated process produces a civil agreement as an outcome. A well-trained mediator should be able to produce a documented arrangement that will satisfy courts in, for example, a divorce settlement. While mediators are not bound to the formal processes of litigation, they work within the confines of the law protecting the parties. If parties are willing to pay the extra costs, it would also be possible to have their attorneys comment on the final agreement before they sign it.
But, there is another reason to opt for mediation. The process is more subtle and open. Mediation creates win-win resolutions. If done properly parties learn crucial negotiation and communications skills. They can grow and become stronger and more assertive individuals. While reconciliation and restoration of the relationship is not the aim of the process mediation has the potential to establish a new meaningful relationship between the parties that serve the interests of other stakeholders, i.e. children or employees.
Thus, both emotional (stress and time) and financial factors make a mediated settlement a viable option to resolve conflicts in the home, business, schools and community.