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Why is Mediation Often Better than Litigation?

According to an MSNBC article entitled More Couples Seeking Kinder, Gentler Divorces, litigation may cost as much as 11 times more than mediation. But aside from the cost difference, mediation has other redeeming values over litigation.

One research study analyzed five different studies that compared mediation to litigation and arrived at a quantitative summary of relevant factors using a process called metaanalysis. The overall conclusion was that mediation was superior to litigation. The evaluation considered both litigation and mediation processes based these variables:

  • Process satisfaction
  • Outcome satisfaction
  • Emotional satisfaction
  • Spousal relationship
  • Understanding children’s needs

This research study, called Divorce mediation outcome research: a metaanalysis also pointed out interesting similarities and differences between litigation and mediation. Both processes attempt to arrive at a settlement between parties. During litigation, lawyers can negotiate at any time on the spouses’ behalves to reach an out-of-court settlement. Mediation also guides both parties in the direction of a settlement. In that respect, both processes have the same goal of resolving disputes. However, the methods used in each process differ greatly.

Litigation is an adversarial system where both sides compete to obtain an outcome favoring their side. While both parties discover information about each other, attorneys engaged in litigation work to present the other party in a negative light and their party in a positive light. In mediation, there is a greater likelihood of parties sharing information in a cooperative manner that seeks a mutually beneficial outcome.

Not all cases lend well to mediation or other alternative dispute resolution techniques like collaborative law. There are times that you need to have a Court decide your case.  Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP is one of the only law firms in Manhattan that offers: mediation, collaborative law and litigation as process choices for your divorce.  You should discuss your marital situation with an experienced New York divorce lawyer and seek legal guidance on how to approach divorce.

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