At a time when everyone is tightening their wallets, bearing the cost of an expensive divorce litigation is not high on anyone’s list of expenditures. Although the process can begin with a $2500 deposit, it doesn’t take long before the amount due grows tens of thousands of dollars. Often, unhappy couples choose to stay together just to avoid the financial devastation associated with divorce and the asset splitting. Many couples could not afford to live alone and support a family without the help of a second income.
For people capable of working the divorce details out civilly with their spouse, mediation offers a much more peaceful and affordable solution. The goal of mediation is to work the divorce agreement details out together. Divorce litigation, on the other hand, aims to deliver the most to the client. And in litigation, since the goal of each attorney is to win the most for his or her client, negotiating terms can take months to years of going back and forth, through stubborn rants, all while running up the attorneys’ fees.
Is mediation right for you?
If you are in a situation where you fear for your safety, the answer is a very solid no.
If you can hold a calm conversation with your spouse and start working out the details of splitting assets, custody, etc. you are a much better mediation candidate.
But things can start out calm and quickly get out of hand if one person refuses to negotiate or become overcome with anger. When that occurs, the mediator will refer you both elsewhere as he does not represent either one of you as an attorney.
What does a mediator do?
Yes, you read that right. A mediator does not represent either one of you. The mediator is simply there to help the two of you get through negotiations. If you plan to go down this route, come to the consultation with a list of things the two of you have agreed to and your mediator should be able to put together a schedule of meetings to work through all the remaining points. If all goes well and you both work together peacefully to iron out all the terms, you could have a draft agreement ready to submit to an attorney for review in just a few short weeks.
The amount of time saved in negotiation is one of the biggest factors impacting the cost of divorce. You may be able to complete your divorce process with a mediator for a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on whether or not third parties must be introduced to work out asset value, custody, etc.
In most cases, you can conclude the process on good terms with your ex making a shared custody situation infinitely more bearable. Your children will also benefit from this more peaceful process as they will not be put in the middle of fighting parents nor receive the brunt of spiteful behavior that puts kids in the middle of an argument.