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If you are in conflict with another party and you cannot come to an agreement to end the dispute, what is your next step?

You could take the matter to court, but you might also find that mediation, which offers several benefits over litigation, is a better way to resolve the dispute.

Understanding mediation

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that takes place outside the courtroom in a more relaxed environment. This is a private process in which the parties work together to resolve their differences. The mediator, a neutral third party, will not take sides in the dispute but is available to provide guidance and access to helpful legal information.

Listing advantages

In addition to confidentiality, which is not available in a courtroom setting, mediation is a cost-effective alternative to litigation. The process is also faster than having to go to court. Open communication is key. The parties communicate directly with one another and are therefore able to determine the outcome of their efforts rather than having to leave the decision-making up to a judge.

Moving ahead

While each party may have to concede a point or two as part of their negotiations, they will also realize benefits due to their teamwork in reaching a resolution to the dispute. From the introduction, in which the mediator explains the process, to the written agreement containing the agreed-upon resolution to the issue, mediation is often the legal option of choice and the next step for parties who find themselves at odds over a particular matter but wish to avoid litigation.