It's no secret that lawsuits in the United States are often stressful, long and expensive to be a part of. Because of this, many people are turning away from the courts to other methods to settle their disputes. Mediation and arbitration are two forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution that have emerged as methods to resolve conflict without resorting to litigation. Mediation is a process that introduces a third party adviser to a situation. This adviser listens to both sides and makes suggestions about how the responsibility for the conflict can be divided so that both parties agree. Mediation is not designed to find one party at fault or to declare a winner, rather, it's designed to create a 'win-win' solution. Arbitration, on the other hand, is a process that declares a 'winner'. Arbitration is a process that has been characterized as a 'rent a judge' procedure. If two parties agree to arbitration, they allow a private judge to reach a verdict in their dispute. Arbitration can be either binding, which means no appeal can be made, or non-binding. The advantage to both of these processes is that they're quicker and less expensive than trial litigation. For more information about alternative dispute resolution, contact a real estate lawyer in your area.