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Understanding Mediation

Mediation is a less costly alternative to calling lawyers and heading to court. It’s an informal and confidential way to resolve conflicts with the help of a neutral mediator. Trained to facilitate the discussion of differences between two parties, mediators can often help people reach an agreement quickly and amicably.

Solutions possible through mediation

Mediation can help resolve conflicts in many different areas of life, including:

  • Employment — Mediation can help resolve issues for service members protected under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve offers mediation for National Guard and reserve service members who encounter conflicts with their civilian employers.
  • Divorce — Going through a divorce can be an emotional and contentious process. Mediation can allow two parties to compromise and allow for a civil end to a marriage. The process is often quicker and cheaper than going to court.
  • Real estate — Service members relocate frequently and are often faced with legal disputes related to homeownership and renting. Mediation is a way to resolve those disputes in a timely matter, so service members can focus on their relocation.
  • Child custody — When parents want to resolve child custody issue, but don't want to go to court, mediation can provide a solution both parents can agree with. The process is civil and private, and it doesn't leave the decision up to the courts.

Benefits of mediation

Mediation can have multiple benefits, including:

  • Cost — Nonmilitary mediators may charge a similar rate to lawyers, but mediation sessions are quicker than a prolonged court process. Most installation legal assistance offices provide free mediation services.
  • Time — Because mediation is informal, negotiations are often resolved in a short amount of time.
  • Outcome — Since participants must agree to a resolution, the result is often satisfactory to both parties.
  • Privacy — Mediation takes place out of court, allowing an open discussion in a private setting.

Consider mediation if you find yourself in a conflict that has the potential to be disruptive, costly and timely to settle. Mediation is a strong alternative that allows you to stay in control of the situation.