Black's Law Dictionary defines mediation as "a method of non-binding dispute resolution involving a neutral third party who tries to help the disputing parties reach a mutually agreeable solution."
Mediation allows parties to reach their own resolution and is based on self determination rather than a decision imposed by a judge. A mediator’s primary purpose is to help the parties to a dispute reach a voluntary agreement on contested issues. Mediation can be a means to arrive at creative solutions tailored to your specific needs, and to avoid an arbitrary decision made by a judge or arbitrator who doesn’t know you or your circumstances.
As an experienced divorce lawyer, Bonnie Booden offers mediation as another means to resolve the issues that arise out of the dissolution of a marriage. Because of her experience in court, Bonnie has a much better idea of likely outcomes should the case need to go to court. As a consequence, if asked, she can provide a reasonable assessment of the likelihood of success on the merits of each party’s position on contested issues. However, in most cases, as a mediator, her role is to facilitate the parties’ resolution of the issues on their own.
The benefits of mediation over traditional litigation are that mediation typically costs less than litigation and takes less time. In addition, mediation also helps preserve the relationship between the parties and allows the parties to tailor the result to their needs. Finally, it is possible to keep the result of mediation confidential, thus avoiding any long term effect of negative legal findings on a particular issue. The detriments of mediation are that it may take some time to expose all the facts if one party is not fully committed to the process, and that both parties are required to understand the facts pertaining to their circumstances. Finally, the most important thing to remember is that the goal in mediation is not to win, it is to resolve the dispute so all parties move forward in a good way.