Most disputes involving real estate in California end up in mediation somewhere along the way. Judges routinely ask parties to try to mediate their problems before going to trial because it is a highly effective form of alternative dispute resolution. It benefits everyone.
What is mediation?
Mediation is a highly effective form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). It involves the parties in the dispute, a neutral third party called a mediator. If the parties wish to hire attorneys to help them negotiate the terms of a mediation agreement, they are welcome to attend. However, they are not required in mediation.
Why is mediation so effective in real estate disputes?
Mediation is effective in many areas, including real estate. It is advantageous because it is:
- A private and confidential process
- Its purpose is to reach a mutual agreement, not to declare one party right and another wrong.
- Mediation is cost-effective and faster than going through court proceedings.
- It allows the parties to come up with the terms of their agreement on their own
- The mediator is trained to facilitate the conversation and provide structure, but the parties are ultimately in control.
- Real estate mediation should involve a mediator experienced in real estate matters, such as titles, adverse possession, easements, eminent domain, and more.
Courts all around the country encourage parties in dispute to mediate their conflict. If the parties reach a final agreement or settlement in mediation, that agreement can be legally binding.
What does mediation look like?
Mediation is highly flexible and tailored to the clients in each case. For example, suppose the parties are in a high-conflict situation. In that case, the mediator may keep them in separate rooms. In contrast, the mediator goes back and forth, negotiating an agreement between them.
While mediation is not the answer in all cases, it is a highly effective way of solving problems in many cases and is certainly worth a try before going to trial.