If you are involved in any type of civil litigation in South Carolina there is a chance that the court will encourage you, if not require you, to attend mediation before the court will set the matter for an actual trial. While the results of mediation vary greatly, it is important for you to understand the common benefits of mediation so you know what to expect during your mediation session.
Mediation is a tool used by the courts to try and resolve cases without the need to have a full blown trial. Trials take time and use court resources. In short, trials are expensive. Therefore, courts have an interest in seeing cases resolved without the need for a trial. Often, cases are resolved simply through negotiation between the parties; however, when negotiating has not achieved a resolution, courts may recommend, or order, mediation.
Mediation involves the parties getting together outside of the courtroom in an informal setting. The mediation is run by a certified mediator, typically an attorney who has gone through the additional training required to become a certified mediator. The mediator is a neutral third party who works with both sides in an effort to resolve the issues involved in the case. Both sides will explain to the mediator their positions on the issues and advise the mediator of their demands, or what they need in order to resolve the case. The mediator will work back and forth with the parties, making suggestions and providing advice, in the hope of helping the parties come to a mutually acceptable resolution.
The benefits of mediation are many, including:
It gives both sides an opportunity to “present” their case prior to trial, offering in effect a “trial run.”
The process is confidential and nothing said or offered during mediation is admissible at trial as a general rule.
The mediator provides a ‘buffer” that can help when trying to negotiate a settlement.
Mediation is relatively inexpensive compared to the cost of trial.
You typically get to choose who will act as mediator.
If you are a party to a civil lawsuit in South Carolina and the idea of mediation has been broached, either voluntarily or by the court, it is in your best interest to the mediation option with your attorney before making a decision about it. If you are faced with an estate planning or family law legal problem or issue contact the experienced South Carolina estate planning and family law attorneys at Kuhn & Kuhn Law Firm by calling 843-577-3700 to discuss your options.