Divorce hurts, even in the best of circumstances. Untangling two lives and planning for the future not only consumes a huge amount of emotional energy, but it also takes a high financial toll. If you choose to mediate your divorce, you will benefit by:
- Retaining total control of the divorce process
- Preserving your dignity by minimizing the hostility and emotional distress that accompanies a litigated divorce
- Maintaining complete confidentiality
- Reducing your legal fees
If you choose to litigate your divorce, you surrender a huge amount of control over the eventual outcome of the proceedings. While it is true that most divorces eventually settle, they typically only do so after the attorneys on each side engage in expensive and painful legal sparring. The needs of each spouse play a minor role in this endeavor.
Instead of utilizing interest-based negotiation to come to an ideal agreement, most attorneys have been trained to grab as much as they can, as soon as they can. When both sides take this approach, the end result is often miserable. The client senses that he or she has very little control over the terms of the settlement, and if the case actually goes to trial, the client has no control whatsoever. Many (if not most) clients are deeply disappointed with the final result of litigation. Had the clients been aware of the likely outcome and the wasteful nature of the proceedings, they would have gladly mediated their divorce.
To say that emotions run high during divorce is an understatement. Fear, guilt, anger, sorrow and distrust are common, as is the sense that life is spiraling out of control. Hiring hardened divorce attorneys to wade into battle is a surefire way to ensure that the emotional distress that accompanies the process is magnified. Instead of working collaboratively to make the best out of a difficult situation, divorcing couples find themselves acting in ways that mirror the adversarial nature of the traditional divorce process. The intent and desires of each spouse are often misconstrued, lines in the sand are drawn, and a difficult process is made exponentially more difficult.
Mediation allows couples to focus on achieving an optimal outcome while minimizing emotional distress. Even a truly hostile couple may find that adopting a collaborative mindset naturally lessens tension. Divorce will always hurt. Mediation just hurts less.
The discussions that occur during a mediation session are confidential, as opposed to court proceedings, which become part of the public record. Most clients appreciate the ability to keep their personal affairs private.
The cost of litigating a divorce is staggering. Legal fees exceeding $50,000 are very common, legal fees exceeding $100,000 are not unusual, and incredibly, legal fees in excess of $500,000 are not unknown.
Contrast the cost of litigating a divorce with the cost of mediation, which typically runs between $6,000 and $10,000. The amount of money that can be saved through mediation is significant, and can make or break a divorcing couple’s finances. Not only does mediation typically garner a more satisfying result, but it also costs a lot less too.
*Courtesy of the Law Offices of David Magnuson