Why Choose Mediation
Mediation allows couples to control the terms of their separation or divorce. Discussions between a couple about how to divide assets and share time with their children are extremely personal. Mediation allows couples to make creative and flexible decisions around these important topics. On the other hand, court battles and adversarial negotiations provide no opportunity for attention to a family’s unique details. Results are often broadly dictated by an overburdened judge or as a “take it or leave it” option in negotiations.
Couples that choose mediation spend anywhere from $5,000-$10,000 for their entire divorce, significantly less than a lawyer negotiated or court case. In court, or where two lawyers are billing for time, not only do couples lose control over the cost of their divorce but also over the results. Legal arguments made by opposing attorneys are based on best-case promises and predictions. In truth, these predictions are guesses as no attorney can or will guarantee a court outcome. In the end, the attorneys have billed for extensive hours creating and selling a vision of your case that is not realistic.
Research shows, couples that choose mediation are more satisfied with the outcome of their settlements because they had direct control over decision-making. In mediation, the focus is on the shared goal of arriving at an agreement that is fair and livable for both parties. The result is that those couples are more likely to abide by the terms of their agreements. On the other hand, those who turn to representation by adversarial attorneys are less satisfied and less likely to abide by the outcome. Very often parties to adversarial negotiations seek to modify their Agreements by making additional costly motions or seeking enforcement in court.
Couples who mediate do so in private and with an agreement to maintain confidentiality between themselves and their mediator. Couples who battle in court air their grievances in the courtroom and leave a written trail containing personal information about themselves, the special needs of children and family finances.
Communication and Contact
Couples who wish to preserve the ability to communicate after divorce begin by working together in mediation. Parents can best shield their children from the pain of divorce by continuing to co-parent. In mediation, with the help of the mediator, the parties are encouraged to listen, consider the other’s point of view and work together to generate options for problem solving. This opens the lines of communication to establish a template for future discussion. Couples engaged in litigation have set a tone for battle, which leaves little room for civility. Once hard lines are drawn in win/lose negotiations, communication shuts down. Often, extended family members will take sides and in-law relationships are lost.