Mediation is a powerful tool that may allow you to settle a dispute without costly litigation. It is especially beneficial in situations where you will continue to interact with the other party in the future, such as in child custody agreements, cases involving neighbors or relatives, small business disputes, and many other issues.
Not only can you prevent some of the emotional stress and anger that often occurs during a lawsuit, but you can also learn valuable conflict resolution skills that you can apply to future conflicts. Mediation can move quickly and usually takes less than three months, compared to some lawsuits that can take multiple years.
Although there are many benefits to mediation, it is only successful when both parties go into it willing to understand the opposing side and make compromises that will meet everyone’s needs. Here are some tips to make the most of your mediation experience:
- Come with an open mind – If you begin the mediation with the goal of coming out ahead of your opponent financially or in another way, you are setting the mediation up for failure. You should not think of mediation as a way to punish the other party for what you perceive they did wrong. The goal of mediation is to help both parties reach a reasonable decision.
- Prepare in advance – Mediation is a great way to settle a dispute outside of court, but it does not bypass the need for an experienced lawyer. You should go over the details of your case with your attorney and ask them for feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of your case. Even strong cases have some weaknesses, so it is important that you and your attorney understand these weaknesses fully prior to the mediation. Your attorney can also help you understand in detail what the mediation process looks like because it is quite different from a court trial.
- Stay calm while stating your case – Some people choose to have their attorney make their opening statement, but it may be to your advantage to state your case yourself. If you choose to do this, it is crucial that you remain calm and unemotional while stating your case. Practicing ahead of time can help you maintain your composure.
- Be flexible – You may not receive as much financial compensation as you were expecting, and with non-financial decisions, the solution may be something you had never thought of. At first, this may feel frustrating, but keep in mind that the outcome could actually be worse if you wait for a judge to decide in court.
- Be patient – A mediation session can last all day, leaving you alone with your attorney for long periods of time while the mediator works with the other party. Sometimes you won’t reach a solution in one day, but after both parties have time to think about the options, you’ll reach a solution during a second session.
When mediation attempts fail, you will likely have to take the case to court. This can be expensive and emotionally taxing, and there is still no guarantee that you will get what you want. It is in your best interest to make the most of the mediation process to avoid going to court.
Contact a North Carolina Mediation Lawyer Today
Any type of legal dispute can feel frustrating, especially if you are worried about maintaining some type of relationship with the other party after you reach a resolution. Participating in mediation rather than taking the case to court can have many benefits. The attorneys at Mullen Holland & Cooper P.A. have experience with mediation and dispute resolution, and we will help make the process as simple as possible.
Contact us today at 704-864-6751 to discuss how mediation could be useful in your situation.