Choosing mediation to resolve your divorce has a number of benefits. Especially in dissolution that involves children, it can begin to repair fragile or damaged relationships by rebuilding trust which creates a healthier future for the entire family. By working with a mediator, you can resolve disputes expediently with far less expense than litigation. At the same time, you keep decision making control in your hands instead of relying on the discretion of a judge.
Some of the benefits of working with a divorce mediator include:
Most clients participated in mediation to decide their own future and save money at the same time. The cost of the mediation process is substantially less than attorney’s fees for litigation. The average litigated divorce could end up around $8,000 to $12,000 per person. Instead, the mediation is mainly based upon a fixed fee with a lower hourly rate if more time is required. Mediation clients can email or call the mediator with questions in between sessions at no additional cost resulting in significant cost savings. Some factors that may affect the cost of mediation include the number of disputed issues requiring additional sessions, the timing of mediation, other legal actions such as bankruptcy, as well as whether the parties have numerous businesses and additional experts are required.
Parties are satisfied with mediation because they feel included and empowered. Court testimony is limited to what you are asked not what you want to say. But most people care about and ask, “Was I listened to fairly?” and “Did we discuss what is most important to me?” In mediation, you will discuss all family law issues, especially what is most important to you.
Mediation can be used immediately to obtain resolution. Ninety-five percent of all legal disputes settle without a trial. So, the question is not whether your case will settle but when. Often the court’s docket is full for months ahead and getting a trial date in less than six months is almost impossible. But in mediation, you will schedule sessions based upon your own needs. Additionally, information is gathered and shared between parties at their own pace.
Without taking ownership of an agreement, people are less likely to comply. Even when a case has settled in a traditional manner parties do not always feel they have ownership of the agreement. Many people have stated, “My lawyer said I had to take this or we’d do worse in court.” Although a person has made that decision, he or she has not taken ownership of it. Increased compliance often means fewer return trips to court in the future.
Unlike people in other legal settings, parents must continue to communicate after the case is done. In the most difficult cases, people are forced to use a “notebook” or court-ordered software program because they cannot communicate verbally. Mediation assists people with improving their communication skills and improved communication reduces conflict. In fact, conflict between parents rather than divorce is the best predictor of children’s success or failure in the future. Children of parents who communicate well, even though divorced, fare much better than those who do not. If parents continue their conflict after divorce, children are more likely to have trouble making friends and forming new intimate relationships. They are also more likely to have lower grades, teenage pregnancies, as well as drug and alcohol issues. Reducing parental conflict improves children’s self-esteem. Parents with lower conflict also benefit enormously including improving other personal and business relationships which economically benefits the entire family.
All conversations during mediation are confidential. Any agreement reached through mediation and filed with the court will be public as a court order. Testimony in court, on the other hand can be painfully public. After testifying about the other parents lack of parenting skills or manipulation of finances, not only is it difficult to “un-ring the bell,” that testimony can be reproduced in transcript form.