Mediation is an alternative means of dispute resolution that can save parties the time and expense of a trial in civil court. At the Law Office of Judy H. Barganier and Winston W. Edwards, P.C., we provide mediation services for divorce and family law issues, construction disputes such as breach of contract allegations, and other civil law controversies. Our attorneys each have more than 20 years of litigation experience, which has included a substantial amount of successful mediation. If you are looking for a quicker, more cost-effective means of resolving a civil dispute, mediation may be appropriate for you.
When parties have a legal dispute, they can take their case to court or they can try a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). In fact, for certain types of disputes, such as divorce, a court can order the parties to try mediation rather than going straight to trial.
In mediation, the parties to the dispute and their attorneys meet with a neutral third party, the mediator, to discuss the issues in their case. The mediator is not a judge or arbiter charged with making a decision about the dispute; the mediator’s job is to guide the parties to a reasonable compromise. By meeting separately with the parties and performing some shuttle diplomacy, the mediator can break down barriers to a settlement and help the parties come to agreement.
Costs are lower for mediation because the parties don’t have to fully prepare for a trial. Mediation moves at the parties’ own pace, because they are not limited by a crowded court calendar. Mediation is also a cooperative, rather than confrontational, process, so it has a more positive effect on the parties’ relationship. This is beneficial if they have to interact or do business with each other in the future.
A great advantage to mediation is the control you retain over the outcome. Rather than letting a judge decide your issues and risk an adverse ruling, you hold the key to any workable compromise. Mediation is not binding, so you can’t get stuck with a bad settlement. You reserve your right to sue, so if the other party is unreasonable, you walk away and see them in court.
At our firm, the two areas where we engage in the most mediation are family law and construction. We help couples resolve their major divorce issues — alimony, child custody, child support, and property division — without resorting to trial. In addition to the other advantages already mentioned, mediation is more private than court, which is very important when discussing the personal details of your family life. Mediation is also helpful when custody disputes arise post-divorce.
In construction, contracts often stipulate that the parties must participate in mediation or arbitration before taking a dispute to trial. Some contracts require parties to participate in binding arbitration, where the arbiter’s decision is final. However, mediation is less adversarial than arbitration and is often a better option for trade partners who want to continue working with each other in the future. Mediation can often save a contract that’s in danger of breach, or you can use mediation to reform a problem contract so that it better reflects the parties’ intentions.
For a quicker, more cost-effective resolution to your legal dispute, consider mediation. The Law Office of Judy H. Barganier and Winston W. Edwards, P.C. provides experienced counsel for family law, construction law, and other civil law controversies. To schedule a consultation, call us at 334-530-5701 or contact our Montgomery office online. We are located at 8314 Crossland Loop, just off Vaughn Road, half a mile east of Taylor Road.