You get to decide: The responsibility and authority for coming to an agreement remain with the people who have the conflict. The mediator doesn't make the decisions, and you don't need to “take your chances” in the courtroom. Many individuals prefer making their own choices when there are complex trade-offs, rather than giving that power to a judge.
Fosters continuing relationships: Particularly where children are involved, parents will have to continue to deal with each other cooperatively. Going to court can divide people and increase hostility. Mediation looks to the future. It helps end the problem, not the relationship.
Higher satisfaction: Participants in mediation report higher satisfaction rates than people who go to court. Because of their active involvement, they have a higher commitment to upholding the settlement than people who have a judge decide for them. Mediations end in agreement 70 to 80 percent of the time and have high rates of compliance.
Informality: Mediation can be a less intimidating process than going to court. Since there are no strict rules of procedure, this flexibility allows the people involved to find the best path to agreement. Mediation can deal with multiple parties and a variety of issues at one time. And, mediation can include resolution of issues typically not dealt with by judges, such as pets, relationships with extended family, etc.
Faster than going to court: Months, and sometimes years, may pass before a case is resolved by a court trial, while a mediated agreement may be obtained in a short period of time.
Lower cost: The court process is expensive - a divorce can often cost each party $10,000 to $40,000, and occasionally more. In mediation, it becomes obvious fairly quickly whether resolution is likely. Even a partial settlement reached in mediation can lessen later litigation fees.
Privacy: Unlike most court cases, which are matters of public record, mediation is confidential. Only the final agreement becomes public record, and that only occurs in divorces or other situations where ratification by a court is necessary.