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  • Writer's picturepaulamwaterman

Five Benefits of Mediation Over Litigation

Updated: Mar 27, 2023

Litigation and mediation are both dispute resolution tools. Two, or more, parties can utilize either when a dispute cannot be resolved amicably. Litigation means that one or more of them have decided to bring a lawsuit in front of a court of law. A judge will decide the outcome of their disagreement. A judge makes a decision when a matter goes all


through the legal process. That decision is binding on the parties.

Mediation

Mediation, on the other hand, is when the parties decide to stay more in control of the process. In a mediation, the mediator is a neutral third party. The parties choose the mediator. The mediator hears the facts and legal analysis presented by all the parties. He or she helps them see the pros and cons of each of their arguments. The mediator then makes suggestions. Finally, the mediator helps the parties with creative solutions on how to reach a compromise and resolve their dispute. Mediation is confidential. Therefore, if negotiations fail, anything discussed during the mediation process cannot be used in litigation.

5 Benefits of Mediation

Despite what you may see on TV, litigation should be a last resort regarding civil proceedings. Mediating a lawsuit can be more effective. Also, it comes with several benefits over litigation that you may not have known about, like the following:

  1. Mediation costs a lot less than litigation. Financially speaking, litigation will eat up a lot of your money. Attorney and court fees can eat up a substantial chunk of your savings. Mediation is a more cost-effective alternative.

  2. You’re more in control. During litigation, a judge will hear both sides of the case. The judge decides on issues as he or she deems “fair.” That can be subjective and it can lead to decisions with which you may not necessarily agree. With mediation, you and the other party are having a formal discussion about the issues that come up. The mediator is there to help discussions flow more smoothly and to facilitate a conversation.

  3. Non-binding. With mediation, the solutions that the mediator suggests are just that—suggestions. The decisions that happen during the discussion are non-binding. Although, be warned that if either party crosses a line set forth during mediation, it can go on to litigation.

  4. Backlog in the Courts. The reality with the U.S. judicial system is that courts always have something on the docket. They are often backlogged due to the large number of cases before them. Setting a court date could mean you won’t see even the beginning of a resolution until months down the road. That’s a lot of time, money, and emotion spent waiting for a court date. The system is also plagued by parties rescheduling and postponing those dates. Therefore, it can easily become an expensive, bureaucratic mess. Mediation is relatively faster. This is because you and the other party schedule when you want to meet.

  5. Better results. Both parties feel like they have contributed to a discussion and have heard each other out. As such, they are more likely to follow the decisions made during mediation than during the adversarial litigation process. There is no winner or loser during mediation, only a middle ground. Because both parties must agree on the results.


Typical Attorney Fee Costs of Divorce Court Trials Highly-contested court proceedings where both parties are represented by separate divorce attorneys often cost $10,000 to $50,000 per party in attorney fees. Sometimes $100,000 or more. This high cost is a result of a lack of proper disclosure (hide-the-ball tactics) and the need to dispute every issue at each part of the process. Often costs are increased through the use of outside experts such as accountants, parenting evaluations, property appraisers, and vocational evaluators. The time needed to complete a contested divorce is generally more than 1 year.

The Spouses Would Not Do It Again When asked after a final orders court hearing whether they would do it again the same way, essentially all parties state that they would not. Because of the extraordinary costs and poor results, both financial and emotional. They realize that they would have been much better off if they had determined their resolution. In mediation, they would have achieved much better results, at a fraction of the cost and time, with much less damage to family relationships.

Quick Answers to Quick Questions

  • What is a common law marriage? A “common law” marriage is a marriage that is determined to exist by a court rather than by statute. There are legal requirements for such a marriage to exist.

  • Does Colorado recognize common-law marriages? Yes. Colorado recognizes common-law marriages and has recognized such marriages for many years.

  • Does Colorado recognize same-sex common-law marriages? Yes. Under state and federal law, same-sex common law marriages are recognized although there are nuanced differences.

  • How do you prove a common-law marriage in Colorado? The two elements necessary to establish a common law marriage exists are (1) “mutual consent or agreement of the parties” and (2) “mutual and open assumption of a marital relationship.” You prove these elements by introducing evidence at a hearing such as a witness testimony and documents.

  • How many years does it take to be common law married? There is no time limit or requirement. A common law marriage could exist after one month and may not exist after thirty years. It is the facts and circumstances that matter­—not the amount of time.

  • How do you end a common-law marriage? With a divorce. A common-law marriage is treated in the same fashion as a statutory marriage and the way to end a common-law marriage is to file for divorce.

  • My ex and I treated each other as if we were married but then our relationship ended, are we common law married? Probably. A common law marriage can begin based on the conduct of the parties but cannot end based on the conduct of the parties. To end a common law marriage, you need to get a legal divorce through a court.



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