Divorce Mediation: Your Alternative to Litigation

Going through a divorce, but not looking forward to battling it out in court? Fortunately, the courtroom isn't your only option for resolving the particulars of your divorce. Mediation is a great alternative that many people are increasingly opting for, which isn't really hard to understand once you realize all of the benefits that come with resolving a divorce through mediation. These benefits are precisely what we'll discuss here, along with why this alternative may be a better option for you than average litigation proceedings.

Cost-Effectiveness:

Divorces are commonly viewed as costly procedures, and this is primarily due to all of the costs that are accrued through court-based divorce proceedings. When you decide to take your divorce case to court, you're going to be looking at a wide range of definite as well as possible costs. 

Both sides are going to have to hire a lawyer, and this alone can be pretty costly. Between the initial consultation and the retainer fee, you're already looking at several thousand dollars. 

That's just the beginning, too, as you're also going to have to deal with the costs of filing affidavits and subpoenas, the costs of filing responses to these motions, hearings and other court appearances, the actual trial, and any appeal proceedings that may come up. After all of this, you could easily be looking at a substantial 5 figure bill.

Mediation is far more cost-effective than litigation. Whereas court cases can certainly cost at the minimum $10,000, and easily soar into the tens of thousands, mediation typically caps out around $5,000, with many cases only costing $2,000 to $3,000. Mediation costs typically only involve initial consultations, a few meetings, a settlement agreement, and any follow-up procedures that have to take place.

Timeliness:

Litigation divorces can take months to years to complete, depending on the amount of contention present in the case. Mediation takes nowhere near as long, and this has a lot to do with how disagreements are handled in these two processes. With litigation, every time one party submits a proposal, you're looking at not only the cost of filing this proposal, but the time it takes for a court to file it and pass it on, and then you're looking at the cost and time for the other party to file a reply. 

The more back and forth that takes place, the longer court-based divorce proceedings are going to take. With mediation, you're sitting in a room with the other person, immediately going back and forth to address various issues. There's no filing or additional costs - your mediator isn't going to start working a calculator every time one person responds to another's proposal.

Privacy:

If you were hoping for some form of privacy throughout your divorce, then you're likely going to be disappointed if you're dealing with the courts. While you may make some effort to keep information from family and friends, this is likely to be a doomed endeavor due to the public nature of divorce courts. 

Any accusation, request, or demand that's filed in court is going to become public record. These records can be accessed by anyone, even years after the divorce has been finalized. This means that your finances - including debt - and any personal accusations are going to be made public.  This isn't something that anyone desires, so it's obvious why avoiding such public disclosure is high on the list of priorities.

Mediation secures privacy where litigation fails to do so. With mediation, whatever is discussed and decided upon remains a private, confidential matter. Any records or documents formed during the mediation process will stay with each party and the mediator, thus avoiding any chance of public access. You're also saved from having to discuss personal matters in front of a large number of people - something that can be embarrassing and uncomfortable.

Child Custody and Overall Procedural Control:

Many parents would agree that they're the right individuals to decide what is best for their children in the event of a divorce. With a court-based custody hearing, a judge is going to make the final decision regarding custody and other parenting arrangements. This decision is likely to be based on evaluations of the children by court appointed officials, something that simply makes the children more a part of the divorce than parents may like. 

With mediation, children don't have to be exposed to the divorce proceedings, something that limits any sort of mental/emotional stress they may experience due to the dissolution of their parents' marriage. It's also easier to for parents to agree on parenting goals/styles - especially when there are more complex issues involved - when they're working through a mediator.

Apart from child custody, mediation allows greater control in general, when it comes to making decisions about the divorce. A judge can assess your behavior, mood, finances, and anything else and make a decision that's completely different from what either party is seeking. Through mediation, individuals have greater control over making decisions that are best for their specific situation.

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