Divorce is an uncomfortable and tense process by any stretch of the imagination. The cost of litigation can amount to thousands of dollars, hundreds of hours, and untold amounts of stress and anxiety. Divorce mediation is a much more flexible, informal, and cheaper alternative, and takes a lesser toll emotionally as well as financially. Here are five key advantages of divorce mediation.
- It costs less. One of the most difficult things about litigation is the financial toll it takes on families – fees for a typical litigated divorce can run upwards of $20,000 per party. Each spouse is responsible for his or her own court/attorney fees, and the longer the process takes, the more money it costs. In contrast, parties generally share the cost of mediation, and the total usually runs between $3,000 and $6,000 from start to finish.
- It’s confidential. Unlike the court process, where judges, lawyers, and interviewers all may hear the details of a trial (not to mention everything is public record), discussions and tentative agreements reached in mediation are completely confidential. The only people who know what goes on in each session are the parties involved and the mediator (and the spouses’ lawyers, if present), and what is said during mediation cannot be repeated in court. Because of this, both parties may feel more at ease considering alternative solutions, making the decision process less strained.
- You’re in control. The courtroom can be an uncomfortable and unnerving place – an unfamiliar judge is making decisions about some incredibly personal issues, and people often feel like they aren’t in control of what happens to their family afterward. Mediation, on the other hand, is much more personalized and informal. You and your spouse control how quickly decisions are made, when the divorce petition is filed, and what the terms of the divorce will be, down to every last detail. Nothing is settled until you and your spouse completely agree on every issue.
- It’s easier on your children. One of the most difficult aspects of divorce is the effect it has on children. Custody trials usually require each child to be interviewed by several different people, and they may even have to appear in court. The animosity between parents can increase tenfold during the stressful court process, which can expose children to increased conflict and tension and lead to stress and confusion. Alternatively, mediation utilizes discussion, compromise, and coordination. The process mitigates the negative and stressful emotions that typically come with divorce through direct conversations, which in turn benefits your children. A mediator helps to educate both parties in a neutral manner and keep the focus on the children’s needs while engaging parents in a more sensitive and less inflammatory process.
- The decisions you make will last. Studies show that between 80-85% of couples who use divorce mediation to create a divorce settlement are successful – divorced couples are almost always more willing to honor a mediated settlement (that they came to of their own accord) than a court-mandated decision. By cooperatively working together to form an agreement for the future, spouses can maintain an amicable and positive relationship that will lay the foundation for their relationship with each other and with their children post-divorce.
Our firm can help you get through the divorce process. If you think divorce mediation may be right for you and your family, give us a call at (858) 255-1321 or visit our website to set up a consultation.