When a conflict between two people goes to court, you tend to talk to the judge. You may do this yourself or through your legal team. The person that you are opposing also talks to the judge. In the end, that judge makes a ruling on what they feel is fair, given what they have heard. 

Already seeing the problem? The judge doesn’t know nearly as much about the conflict as you and the other party do already. You have to explain it to them. You have a very small window of time to make them understand what you have been dealing with every day. They’re going to come to a conclusion based on that very limited information, and it’s going to be legally binding. 

With mediation, however, you get to open up a dialog between you and the other party. The mediator helps to guide you, but the goal is for the two of you to discuss where you stand. The mediator is impartial, and they also will not make any sort of ruling. They just help the two of you come to an agreement. 

There are situations where this type of discussion can give you far better results. You don’t have to simply hope the judge understands. You don’t have to abide by a legal order that you think doesn’t reflect your needs or the real situation. Instead, you get to talk and work together to make those decisions. You are in control — and that means both parties may end up with a better outcome.

If you’re interested in this type of problem-solving approach, rather than moving directly to more standard resolution in court, it’s wise to know exactly what steps to take. An experienced mediator can help you get started.