Two Paths: Divorce Mediation vs. Divorce Court – The Differences
Making the decision to get a divorce can take years of stressful buildup. To make matters worse, the end of your marriage often symbolizes the beginning of a very complicated process. However, the divorce proceedings don’t have to be worse than making the actual decision to end your marriage. By choosing the right path for you, the logistics of your divorce proceedings can remain in your control, and can be handled in a reasonable time-frame for a cost that won’t leave you out on the streets.
You have three options for handling your separation or divorce. You may hire a divorce mediator to help you and your spouse negotiate your divorce, each party hires a divorce lawyer who will then represent you against your spouse. The third option is midway between the two, you each hire an attorney to represent you in settlement talks only, the attorney will not represent you in litigation.
If you are in the middle of a marriage breakup that you feel cannot be handled amicably, you may need the services of a divorce attorney. However, this will cause you to lose much of your control over the proceedings, and can be both very costly and extremely time consuming. Each party will hire an attorney and pay a sizable retainer fee to each lawyer. You will be paying for phone calls and correspondence between your attorneys, your attorney’s and yourself as well as paying for the attorneys to file motions in court. At the end of the day, most cases are settled without either party entering court. Even if you do end up going to court, you most likely will not be satisfied. There will be numerous delays to get on the court’s calendar because the courts are backlogged. There are too few judges and too many cases In the end you may come away feeling that it was not a good idea to have the judge make the final decision.
A great way to avoid divorce court and all the time, money, and stress that comes along with it, is to use a divorce mediator. In mediation, the parties control the outcome by negotiating directly with each other on parenting and financial issues. The divorce mediator knows what issues have to be addressed and will guide you through the process. Children in a divorce situation where a mediator is involved often handle the process better, as their parents are less stressed and maintain more control over the whole situation. In addition, marriage breakups handled through a divorce mediator can be handled much more quickly if each spouse is willing to compromise, as they are not at the mercy of the court’s timeline. When all is said and done, using a divorce mediator can eliminate much of the hassle and emotional stress that so often comes along with stereotypical divorce proceedings, helping both parties to move on with their lives as quickly as possible.
If you choose the middle option, which is known as collaborative law, each spouse is represented by a lawyer, but you still avoid divorce court, as the lawyers typically work to reach a solution that meets both partners’ needs. This may be option where one party feels that they will be dominated in direct negotiations with the other party. You still have more control over the process than you would if you went the traditional route because you and your spouse will be in the same room, accompanied by your attorneys, during some or all of the settlement negotiations.