Mediators can increase the likelihood of a negotiated settlement by bringing the skills, creativity, and influence of trained, impartial third parties to bear on the problem. Perhaps more importantly, frequently mediation can save time and money.
Mediation keeps your options open, and reduces issues of conflict. Although most people who begin mediation have a successful conclusion, some do not. If mediation doesn’t work, you can still sue, and go to court or engage in arbitration. Because mediation is totally voluntary, if an impasse occurs, one can still litigate or undertake another dispute resolution process. But, even when mediation is not completely successful, you may resolve some areas of dispute, reducing the number of issues left to be determined.
Studies show that mediation can increase compliance. Many people resent decisions imposed by others with power – legal or not. It is important to consider that court orders are not self-enforcing which means that if one party fails to comply with the terms of a court order, the other party must incur the costs of requesting a court to assist in enforcement. The goal of mediation is to reach an agreement that everyone can live with after each of you has had a direct role in negotiating the terms along with a chance to clear the air. Since agreements reached in mediation were brokered and agreed to by both of you, you tend to have a sense of legal obligation towards the agreements and a psychological sense of commitment because they are your own agreements. It is possible that you will find you are both more likely to follow through in good faith because the agreements were reached voluntarily.