Understanding Mediation

Two men shaking hands.

When legal conflicts arise, you may feel tempted to call a lawyer and settle things in court. But there is another, less costly alternative — mediation. Mediation is an informal and confidential way of resolving conflicts with the help of a neutral mediator. Mediators are trained to facilitate the discussion of differences between two parties, but they do not decide who is right and who is wrong. Through mediation, people can often reach an agreement quickly and amicably.

Solutions through mediation


your installation legal services office to find a mediator in your area.

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. 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 over employment, real estate, child custody or many other two-sided disputes that have the potential to be disruptive, costly and timely to settle.


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