More and more people are using divorce mediation these days. If you, or someone you know, are getting divorced, mediation may be a good method to try.
1. It Costs Less
In divorce mediation, you meet together with one divorce mediator. You usually share the cost, which is commonly between $2000 and $5000 total. If you were to retain separate attorneys to represent you in the divorce, you would each typically pay a retainer of $1500 to $5000 just to get started. A typical divorce in court costs $40,000.
2. You Have Control
In divorce mediation, you both control how quickly or slowly decisions are made, when the divorce petition is filed, and what the terms of the divorce will be. These are written into the Marital Settlement Agreement. Each step is by agreement, in contrast to the adversarial process in which attorneys set court dates and judges make decisions with limited time and information.
3. Paperwork Done for You
Many people try to do their own divorce these days, but run into difficulty trying to understand the laws and the confusing paperwork involved. A mediator who is also an attorney can prepare and file all of the paperwork for you.
4. Easier on the Children
The worst aspect of a divorce for children is the conflict between the parents. Divorce is traumatic enough for children, but they do better when you work together to make adult decisions and do not put them in the middle.
5. Easier on You
The way your marriage ends will significantly affect the way you approach your future relationships. When you use a mediator to help communicate and make important decisions, it can be easier to move forward and accept the past, rather than turning hurt and anger into an expensive court battle.
6. You Can Still Go to Court
When you use divorce mediation, you do not give up your right to go to court. If you are not satisfied in mediation, you can stop at any time, retain a separate attorney and have the judge decide the unresolved issues. What has occurred in mediation is legally confidential and cannot be repeated in court, so you can start fresh.
7. You Receive Legal Information
In divorce mediation with a mediator who is also an attorney, you will both be provided with legal information to help you make decisions about what is fair. While an attorney acting in the role of a mediator cannot give either of you legal advice, he or she can share general knowledge of how a court might address the issues in your case.
8. Emotions Can Be Managed
Often, you want to be heard and understood in the divorce process. In discussions on your own, this may be difficult. Anger and resentment may be unintentionally triggered. A trained mediator can help you address feelings, without allowing such feelings to dominate your decision making process. In court, emotions often drive the case, and the cost, more than any legal issue.
9. It is Confidential
Discussions and tentative agreements are confidential in private divorce mediation. Confidentiality makes it easier for you to make offers and consider alternatives without having everything completely planned out. You can arrive at new agreements neither of you had previously considered. You don’t give up any legal rights by trying mediation, and what is said in mediation may not be repeated in court.
10. It Builds on the Positive
In mediation, you are both encouraged to find common ground for making agreements. The focus is on decisions about the future, not past behavior.