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What to Expect During Mediation and Arbitration

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Mediation and arbitration are powerful ways to solve disputes and many people find that it is much more affordable than traditional litigation. Unfortunately, not too many individuals understand what these processes are like or what they can expect to happen during them. In an effort to better prepare people who are navigating either arbitration or mediation for the first time, this article reviews some of the basic elements involved with these processes.

What Cases can be Mediated

Only civil cases are capable of being mediated, with the exception of a few nonviolent criminal offenses. The types of civil cases that frequently end up in mediation include disputes involving businesses, child custody disputes, contract disputes, divorces, landlord-tenant relationships, and small claims.

Even if a case can be mediated, it is not always the best option given your goals. Some of the reasons why people decide not to mediate include wanting to establish a legal precedent or when a jury trial would likely result in a large verdict.

The Advantage of Mediation

There are several reasons why people select mediation over more traditional litigation. One of the main advantages of mediation over traditional litigation is that the parties involved are often more inclined to preserve an amicable relationship. Mediation is a more cooperative process, which means that it is often a more attractive choice for business partners, co-parents, and others.

How Long Does the Mediation Process to Take?

In most cases, the mediation process lasts only one or two days. Despite the tendency of many mediation cases to be relatively short, some business, divorce, and custody mediation cases last a much longer period of time.

What is the Mediation Process Like?

Although it can vary greatly between cases, mediation tends to follow these steps:

  • The mediator will introduce him or herself and make comments about the rules associated with the project as well as goals.
  • Each side will then be given time to describe their view of the dispute
  • Sometimes the mediator might begin a mutual discussion with both of the present parties. Other times, the mediator will speak to each party separately.
  • After discussing the dispute with both parties, a mediator will bring both parties together so an agreement can be reached.
  • If an agreement is reached, the mediator will write down the terms. When a settlement can not be reached, the mediator will summarize what issues upon which the parties could agree and leave the rest to the courts.

How Mediation is Different from Arbitration

Mediation is similar to arbitration, but there is one large difference. Mediators typically do not have the ability to make a decision without the approval of both parties. Arbitrators, however, more closely resemble judges and have the ability to make legal decisions over both parties without their consent.

Speak with an Experienced Lawyer Today

While mediation and arbitration do not require an attorney, many people find that it is still a wise idea to obtain the services of a lawyer who can guide them through mediation to make sure that the best possible results are reached. Contact Ferrara Law today to schedule an initial free consultation.

The Ferrara Law Firm
Mr. Ferrara is the owner of The Ferrara Law Firm L.L.C. and is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, the New Jersey Supreme Court, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the Federal Courts.
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