Are you considering mediating your case? Here are 5 possible outcomes of mediation so you can know what to expect:
- Settle all the issues with both parties signing a binding settlement agreement (this saves time and money compared to trial). This binding settlement agreement is then an enforceable contract. Judges and courts will not change or modify these agreement unless it falls into a very narrow exceptions such as a typographical error or mistake.
- Settle some of the issues and only litigate those few remaining issues. Both parties sign a binding settlement agreement regarding only those issues that have settled. (This also saves time and money compared to a trial on all the issues). Again, this binding settlement agreement is then an enforceable contract. Judges and courts will not change or modify these agreement unless it falls into a very narrow exceptions such as a typographical error or mistake. The judge will only rule on those issues that were not addressed in the binding agreement.
- Break, because the parties need to gather more information, need more time, etc. Mediation resumes at another date/time (this still saves time and money compared to a trial). Typically, at the next mediation date you will be able to complete the meditation and come to a settlement unless #4 or #5 happens.
- Parties don’t settle and the mediator is asked to make a recommendation that is available to the attorneys only- most of time these reach a settlement later (saves time and money compared to trial because these usually end up in settlement before trial).
- The mediation reaches an impasse, settle none of the issues, and parties go to court (however, now both parties often have a better understanding of the issues or where the true disagreements are within the case).
It is important to note that Mediators are not limited to the same solutions judges are limited to when ruling in a court trial. Mediators have far more flexibility to come up with many creative settlement solutions that simply are not available to judges. For example, a mediation can result in very complex and completely unique visitation schedules and child support schedules whereas a judge in a contested case will probably be limited to standard possession order schedules or the standard child support calculation (in the absence of agreement between the parties). This means that you have the possibility of being a LOT more creative in coming up with a working and enforceable solution through mediation than through a court trial or through informal settlement negotiations without a mediation.