Great article from The Birmingham News regarding the advantages of mediation. From the tangible benefits of cost controls and efficiency, mediation provides hidden benefits that may not seem apparent at first.
First, mediation is far less stressful than going to trial. Judges in Alabama are overworked and understaffed, and have literally thousands of cases on their dockets. Beyond the obvious truth that going to trial is exorbitantly expensive and time-consuming, there is no guarantee that your outcome will be any better. The simple act of getting a trial date scheduled can take months, the discovery process further delays things, and by the time you get to the trial date, most parties are exhausted and out of money.
Second, mediation is easier on children. A case going to trial requires the appointment of a guardian ad litem, a lawyer who represents only the children, and requires meetings with them and transport to and from lawyer offices and the courthouse. Mediation can usually be resolved in one day, which limits the stress and confusion for children.
Finally, mediation is the last resort to a client and their spouse determining their fate. A client and their spouse alone understand the nuances of their relationship and are in the best position to work out issues such as custody, visitation, and property division. Going to trial puts these issues into the hands of very capable judges, but judges that do not know the parties and will not be able to understand the emotions and details from a long marriage. Mediation gives the parties control over their divorce, which ultimately makes things easier on everyone.