Alabama Mediation Law Firm
Being involved in a legal matter can be complicated and stressful, and many people who enter the civil court system worry about the prospect of going to trial. The good news, however, is that the majority of civil claims, including family law matters, are resolved out of court. One of the easiest and most effective ways of settling a civil matter is through mediation.
At the law offices of Haygood, Cleveland, Pierce & Thompson, LLP, our Alabama attorneys are experienced mediators with decades of experience helping clients involved in many types of civil and family law matters reach reconciliation and create agreements that work.
What Is Mediation?
As explained by the Alabama State Bar, mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution. During a mediation, a neutral third party, called a mediator, is responsible for facilitating a conversation between parties involved in a civil dispute. The mediator is not responsible for:
- Telling the parties what to do;
- Deciding the solution;
- Steering the conversation with the intent of reaching a specific outcome that favors one party over the other; or
- Taking sides.
Instead, the role of the mediator is guide parties through effective, amicable conversation and negotiation. The mediator helps each party effectively express their needs and wishes and understand the needs and wishes of the opposing party. Mediation is voluntary and 100 percent confidential.
What Types of Cases Can Be Mediated?
Civil cases can be resolved through mediation, and family law cases are commonly settled via mediation. Types of cases that can be mediated include:
- Dissolution of marriage cases;
- Disputes about property division, alimony, child custody, and other issues in a divorce; and
- Other types of civil case, including contract disputes, small claims, landlord-tenant disputes, and more.
What Are the Benefits of Mediation?
Mediating a civil claim or family law matter can provide many benefits when compared with litigation. Some of these benefits include:
- Mediation is less expensive. When it comes to resolving your civil or family law matter, you are probably aware that legal fees can quickly add up. If you are interested in saving as much money as possible, mediation may be for you. Mediation is much less expensive than is litigation, and saves money on court and lawyers’ fees.
- Mediation is faster. While the amount of time your case takes to mediate will depend on many factors, including how willing you are to compromise, it is almost a guarantee that mediating your case will take less time than going to court. If you are looking for a quick resolution, mediation is your best option.
- Meditation gives you more power over the outcome of your case. Going to court and litigating your case can be frustrating, especially because how your case will be resolved will be in the hands of the court. If you want to have more autonomy and influence over the outcome of your case, mediation is the way to go. When you mediate your case, you and the other party will work together to create a resolution that works for both of you.
- Mediation is less contentious. Most people know someone who has gone through an emotional, hate-filled, drawn out, contentious divorce or other family law issue. In most cases, resolving a family law or other civil matter amicably is ideal, not only saving time and money, but reducing stress as well. A less contentious form of dispute resolution is especially important when parties have mutual interests, such as a shared child.
- As stated above, mediation is 100 percent confidential, which means that whatever happens during mediation will be kept between you, the other party, the mediator, and any legal professionals that are involved. If you go to court, however, your case will become public record.
- You don’t have anything to lose with mediation. Finally, mediation is worth pursuing because even if you and the other party are not able to reach an agreement regarding the outcome of your legal matter, there will always be other options (i.e. litigation). Through mediation, you have nothing to lose.
Is Mediation Right for You?
If you are involved in a civil or family law matter, you may be wondering whether mediation is right for you. Mediation is advised when you and the other party have a relationship where conversation and civility is possible, but resolving the issue without mediation seems impossible. For example, if you and your spouse are getting a divorce and cannot agree on things like how property should be divided or where your shared child should spend the majority of their time, mediation may be a very effective course of action.
What Happens After Mediation?
There are two outcomes of a case that is being mediated: parties will either reach an agreement, or not reach an agreement.
If parties reach an agreement, then that agreement will be drafted, and depending upon the type of case, submitted to the court for approval. Most written mediation agreements are legally-binding contracts.
In the event that parties cannot reach an agreement, they can choose to drop the matter altogether, or pursue their claim in another manner (i.e. filing a lawsuit).
Learn More About Mediation Today
In nearly all cases, attempting to mediate your case before filing a lawsuit and pursuing litigation is a smart idea. Through mediation, you can save time and money, preserve your relationship with the other party, and engage in a healthy and constructive way of expressing yourself and negotiating for what you want.
If you are ready to learn more about the mediation process and whether or not mediation is the right course of action for you, contact the law offices of Haygood, Cleveland, Pierce & Thompson, LLP, today. Our experienced family law and civil litigation attorneys and mediators will explain your options, review your case, and provide you with legal advice moving forward. You can reach us today by calling (334) 821-3892 directly, or sending us a message online and we will return your inquiry as soon as possible. Remember, not all civil cases have to be contentious – you have options!
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