JAMS ADR Blog by Chris Poole
Conflict is an inevitable part of life — from our jobs, to our families to our communities. Sometimes, serious situations can’t be solved by the people involved. The first place we think of going to is the courthouse. But it is not the only place. If your case could be heard fairly and resolved quickly without a judge or jury, would you consider it?
When it comes to custody battles, employment disputes and other civil legal matters, you have other options. Your case does not have to begin and end in court. Indeed, there are “multiple paths to justice.” During this American Bar Association Mediation Week, Oct. 14-20, we are focusing on expanding awareness on the use of mediation as an effective alternative to traditional court proceedings.
Mediation is a process led by an impartial, skilled third person who guides the parties to discuss their issues and interests. The parties provide each other with information and explore ideas for the resolution of the dispute. The ultimate goal is to find a workable solution all sides accept.
Corporations and governments rely on mediation to resolve a wide range of conflicts, but the practice is increasingly used for the resolution of civil and family disputes, like divorce or foreclosure.
In this time of widespread judicial budget cuts, waiting to have your case heard in court could mean years of living with unresolved matters — such as child support or the probate of a will. The mediation process is based on the parties’ work schedules and daily demands. Sessions can even be scheduled on the weekends.
The ABA is engaged in a national campaign, including public service announcements and school programs, to increase awareness about how mediation can help. Learn more about it on the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution webpage.
Mediators do not decide who is right or wrong, but they can help you resolve problems in a more timely and less expensive way than courts. It’s a process that can help any American who seeks justice.