California residents who are involved in a business or family dispute may know that the legal options available for resolving the issue include mediation, arbitration and trial. While all three options have some things in common, they each possess several advantages and disadvantages, too.

In mediation, the parties elect a mediator who is responsible to hear each party’s arguments and then offers mutually beneficial solutions. Because the mediator is a neutral third party, he or she cannot make a determination. Mediation is beneficial in that it is less expensive than litigation and arbitration. Moreover, since mediation is private, the disputing parties involved are more likely to come together and communicate in the end.

Arbitration, on the other hand, is more like litigation in that there is one or more people who are empowered to make a decision that is legally binding and can only be appealed under certain conditions. While this option is similar to mediation in that it is private and less time consuming than litigation, it can be just as expensive as going to court.

Litigation can be quite costly, messy and time-consuming. It is often the last resort for resolving a dispute. Unlike mediation and arbitration, litigation has relatively no privacy.

While there are several legal options for settling a dispute, each one has its own set of advantages and disadvantages depending on the individual case. Therefore, a person who is involved in a family law dispute may wish to consult an experienced attorney in order to decide which option may be the most advantageous.

Source: Entrepreneur, “Mediation, Arbitration or Trial? Information to Make Your Decision With.”, Andrea Murad, Feb. 19, 2016