Situations Where Mediation Is Effective

Situations Where Mediation Is Effective

Most parties embroiled in legal disputes would like to bypass litigation if possible. Going to court is expensive, contentious, and worst of all, eminently public. Many forms of alternative dispute resolutions exist to aid parties in staying out of court, with arbitration and mediation being two of the most popular. Mediation, which employs a trained mediator to act as a neutral third party and facilitate a mutually satisfying settlement agreement, can attain the win-win situations many participants desire—whether they know it or not. Here are a few situations where mediation is effective in resolving disputes.

Business Disputes

The marketplace can feel like a contact sport. Conflicts between businesses over intellectual property rights and business practices often lead to tumultuous litigation. To maintain confidentiality outside the legal system and keep court costs from spiraling out of control, more and more businesses seek mediation before resorting to litigation. If litigation does look like it will be on the cards due to disagreements involving serious issues within the business, then both parties may resort to hiring a private investigator to gather as much evidence as possible to be used in court to prove their points, or at least build up enough of a case to present their side of the argument.

Neighborly Conflicts: Less Than Lawsuits

Not all neighbors are on the best of terms, sharing power tools and inviting each other to their cookouts. Sometimes, what happens on adjacent properties can escalate into stormy disputes. Perhaps your neighbors have installed a driving range and putting green in their yard, which has led to their golf balls frequently landing on your property. Or a next-door neighbor may take issue with a decadent display of patio lights, which are so bright at night that they provide unsolicited illumination into their bedroom. Before one neighbor takes the other to court—and certainly before any passive-aggressive retaliation goes too far—you can seek mediation to come to an agreement that defuses any tensions along the lot lines.


Sometimes, divorce is an inevitable outcome, but divorce court is a place few couples wish to find themselves. The rise of alternative dispute resolutions has helped to keep couples out of court, and mediation has been one of the most effective strategies for doing so. When a couple believes they can separate under amicable conditions, hiring a mediator to settle a divorce allows them to avoid hiring legal representation of their own, saving legal fees and avoiding any acrimony between ex-spouses that can linger long after litigation.

When Mediation Doesn’t Work

Though there are many situations where mediation is effective, it’s not always the best solution. In some divorce cases, the tension and bad feelings run so high that there’s no way for both spouses to resolve their dispute face-to-face with the necessary give-and-take that mediation requires. When businesses seek mediation as a resolution strategy, it can fail when both sides play for total victory with no compromise. Successful mediation doesn’t merely require a talented mediator—it requires both parties to buy in.

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