The Rock Counseling Group - Champaign IL

There are many ways to resolve conflict but mediation has clear advantages over the alternatives. 


Mediation Saves Time.
Trying to resolve a conflict through litigation is an extremely slow process that can take many months to years. Trial dates are set far in the future and there is a lengthy period of pre-trial discovery before anything happens in court. Backlogs and delays are common. You have no have no ability to speed things along and must surrender entirely to the process. Trials themselves are long drawn-out affairs because of courtroom protocols and rules of evidence. Once that process concludes, you then are required to wait for a ruling and in some cases sit around while appeals are decided. The judicial system is not only a slow grind, but it also requires a heavy time-commitment from the parties, as they are called upon to answer discovery requests and prepare testimony. This means time away from work and family responsibilities in many cases.  When people use mediation, their disputes are resolved in a fraction of the time.  

Mediation Saves Money.
Mediation costs a small fraction of a full-blown lawsuit, divorce, or custody dispute. Parties save money on legal bills, pre-trial discovery expenses, expert witness fees and court costs. Mediation is also less expensive than arbitration, which resembles a mini-trial and typically involves substantial attorney involvement, payments to an arbitral panel and pre-hearing discovery costs. Mediation does not require the parties to use lawyers, but even when they do, the legal fees are much lower because the mediation process is concluded so quickly.

Mediation Reduces Anxiety.
The adversarial process is extremely stressful for most everyone. The outcome is uncertain, the participants can become aggressive toward one another, expenses run high and the time-commitment is substantial. Mediation is a great alternative to fighting in court. because it resolves disputes quickly, at a low cost, in a relaxed environment, and is solution focused in pursing collaboration and settlement.

Mediation is Confidential and Private.
Illinois and federal law provide for strict confidentiality rules in mediation. Nothing discussed in the session is admissible in a court proceeding if the parties are unable to reach an agreement and there is subsequent litigation. In addition, the parties can avoid public disclosure of private matters if they use mediation. Court records are easily-accessible via the internet today, so details of a dispute handled through the judicial system are available to almost anyone. “Dirty laundry”  and " Family issues" aired in litigation causes embarrassment for the parties and damage to reputations. Mediation, on the other hand, takes places behind closed doors, without a court reporter or published transcript, so information about the conflict remains private.

Mediation is Relaxed and Convenient.
Mediation sessions are informal. There are no fixed procedures like those found in a trial proceeding, no rules of evidence, no rigid protocols or strict rules to follow. They are held in a relaxed setting, such as an office or conference room. In addition, the parties schedule the session for a time that is convenient to them, instead of having a date assigned to them by a judge based on a court calendar.

Mediation Lets the Parties Control Their Own Future.
In a court setting the parties hand over all decisionmaking authority to a third-party, who then determines the outcome of their case. In mediation, the parties retain complete control of the result. Each side provides ideas for resolution and has an equal say in the outcome. Neither side can force the other to agree to anything in mediation and the mediator does not make rulings or have any authority to impose a settlement.

Mediation Produces Lasting Agreements.
Mediated agreements are said to have a high compliance rate, or to “last longer,” meaning that people who reach a settlement in mediation are likely to follow through with the terms of their deal. This is because the parties collaborate on the solution and have actual ownership of the result, which they adopt together. In the adversarial process, a judge orders the parties to do certain things, so the “loser,” who is invariably resentful, often finds excuses to circumvent the ruling. In addition, because parties in mediation are directly involved in crafting their own settlement, they typically only agree to terms that they are capable of carrying out. 

Mediation Preserves Relationships.
Mediation is the best alternative when parties have a relationship that they want to preserve following resolution of the conflict. Often times, both sides are met with extreme hostility and aggression. In addition, because the adversarial process typically crowns a winner, it produces at least one unhappy party who feels resentment and animosity toward the other. All of this basically guarantees that the parties will be on very poor terms, if not enemies, after the case ends. Mediation works differently. The parties sit in a room together and, with the help of a facilitator, listen to one another’s perspective on the dispute, discuss their needs and interests, brainstorm settlement ideas and collaborate on a solution. Because the focus of mediation is reaching an agreement for the future, rather than making accusations about the past, the anger and hostility are less pronounced and parties can often resume a relationship after their session in a way that’s simply not possible following a highly-charged adversarial proceeding.

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