Differences Between Litigated Divorce and Divorce Mediation
Despite the best intentions of the people involved, roughly half of all modern marriages still end in divorce. No one imagines their marriage will end when they make that commitment. However, time or circumstances can push you and your spouse apart from one another.
If you are considering divorce, you may worry about the cost and stress involved in a litigated court divorce. There is good news for you. You don’t necessarily have to battle with your spouse in court to secure a divorce. Divorce mediation could be a viable option for ending your marriage.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution option that works for all kinds of issues, including divorce. Typically, mediation involves you and your spouse sitting down with a professional, neutral divorce mediator.
You will both also have your own attorneys present. That ensures someone is looking out for your legal rights and best interest throughout the process.
In cases where spouses are not able to sit in the same room, a mediator will travel back and forth between two separate spaces. Even couples who aren’t on speaking terms could make mediation work if they are willing to compromise.
The mediator guides the couple through all of the outstanding issues for the divorce, whether those relate to asset division or child custody. The spouses discuss terms and eventually settle on a compromise that works for everyone.
How Does Mediation Benefit Divorcing Couples?
Divorce mediation offers couples a host of benefits. Believe it or not, while mediation may be an extra step before divorce court, it can actually speed up the whole process. If you successfully complete mediation with your spouse and agree on terms for your divorce, you can file an uncontested divorce.
That only requires that a judge approve the terms of your asset division agreement and parenting plan.
Divorce mediation is:
- more private
- less stressful
- easier on your children
Could Mediation Work In Your Case?
If you find yourself wondering about mediation for your divorce, consider bringing it up with your spouse. After all, both you and any children from your marriage will benefit from mediation. However, there are certain situations in which mediation simply can’t work.
Typically, if the relationship is abusive, that will mean mediation won’t work well. After all, mediation requires that both spouses approach one another with respect and a desire to compromise. Abusive relationships often do not contain the degree of mutual respect required to make mediation work.
Similarly, if you have an unhealthy dynamic with your spouse or are unable to advocate for yourself even with an attorney, court may be a better option for you.
Traditional Divorce Is Often More Hostile
In many ways, standard divorce court fuels the antagonistic feelings spouses develop in a divorce. Some attorneys actually provoke their clients to continue fighting or attempting to win over the other spouse in the divorce. The more drawn-out and protracted the court case becomes, the more the attorneys involved make. Unfortunately, the longer divorce goes on, the more heated and contentious it can become.
When The Courts Decide on Terms, You Have Little Control
Taking your divorce through the courts is a good way to ensure that the outcome of your divorce completely complies with state law. However, it is not an option that offers you control over the outcome.
In mediation, you can pick the specific details and terms that work best for you. In divorce, the outcome will be solely decided by a judge. That outcome will align with state laws on property division and the allocation of parental responsibilities, but it may not reflect the needs of your family very well.
Expect To Pay for Your Time in Divorce Court
You pay for every hour that your attorney has to stand in court with you. You also have to pay for court costs and fees. Battling in court with your ex may provide an outlet for your emotions, but it will cost you a lot of money. Mediation allows you to set terms together outside of court.
Filing for an uncontested divorce after mediation is faster and much more affordable than fighting with your ex in court. Consider your situation carefully to see if mediation could make your divorce faster, more affordable and less stressful.