Mediate Before You File In Court When You Have Dispute




Sometimes parties need the help of a third person to settle a dispute. Mediation is a process involving a neutral third person who assists the parties in resolving disputes outside of the judicial system. It is beneficial to do the hard work of trying to come to some agreement and to compromise because it is a good way to narrow down the areas of disagreement, which helps in trial preparation. The courts often require that parties at least attempt to mediate.

The benefits of a mediated settlement are threefold: One—it costs less in litigation fees to settle legal disputes; two— in family matters the parties will be in ongoing contact with one another and if both parties can create their own settlement, then the parties are more likely to work together in the future; and, three—by not deciding important issues together the parties give up the right to make decisions and the court may issue a decision that neither of the parties likes.

A mediation model for divorcing parties is called collaborative divorce. In this model, the parties have attorneys and the parties agree not to go into court. The parties meet with a mediator who assists them in working out the details of their divorce agreement. In the collaborative model, however, the parties’ attorneys have to agree not to represent their respective clients in court if the parties cannot agree to settle the case. This singular requirement may be a downside of the collaborative process because if the parties cannot agree, then both parties have to retain yet another attorney and perhaps incur additional and duplicative costs.

Mediation is not confined to family matters. Any legal dispute between two parties may be mediated before either party files an action. There are mediators who assist parties in landlord-tenant matters; or contract matters; or neighbor disputes. Mediation is an opportunity to explore creative resolutions to disagreements without having to litigate or be engaged in the litigation process. By mediating you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Most county courts maintain a list of mediators. We maintain an up to date referral list of well-qualified mediators with whom we have professional experience and for whom we hold high regard. If you require a referral or assistance with the mediation process, please contact us.

© 2010 Kate Willmore

Telephone: (320) 217-6030 E-Mail:

About Kate Willmore, Esq.

Kate Willmore, Saint Cloud, Minnesota, divorce, custody and family attorney brings over 25 years experience to every client's legal matter. *** Licensed in Minnesota and in California

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