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Mediation is an effective way for small businesses to keep their disputes out of court and overhead costs low. There are several advantages to mediation, including preserving relationships, reducing stress, and potentially saving a lot of money in court fees. However, it is important to realize that there are different types of mediation to choose from. According to the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation, the multiple options in modern mediation mean that it is easier than ever to avoid legal dispute.

The first variety of mediation is court-mandated. The majority of mediation is voluntary, but courts can help coax reluctant parties to engage in mediation. If both parties are truly reluctant to mediate this process will have no merit, but sometimes court-mandated mediation can help the parties see the benefits of mediation and choose to cooperate of their own volition.

Evaluative mediation is where mediators can make active recommendations and express their opinions. This is in contrast to facilitative mediation where the mediator does not make actual recommendations but rather encourages the affected parties to come to their own solutions and conclusions. Court-mandated mediation tends to be evaluative.

In the event that the parties have such a strong distaste for each other that they cannot stand to be in the same room, E-mediation may be a good option. In E-mediation, the parties are not physically present in the same room as the mediator. E-mediation is often very similar to facilitative mediation, and can result in positive low-cost solutions to business issues without either having to deal directly with each other or court costs.