Some people who contemplate divorce delay making a decision only because they are apprehensive about commencing litigation, which can be a long, sometimes hostile, and often expensive process.
Fortunately, a full-blown trial is not always necessary, and many couples resolve their issues in mediation. While the assigned judge will require the parties to attempt mediation prior to trial, parties can also use the mediation process prior to involving the courts at all.
Working together towards a common goal
Unlike litigation, mediation allows you and your spouse to work together and determine a mutually-beneficial divorce settlement. A neutral third-party mediator will guide you through the process, explain your options, and help you to resolve your own problems, rather than relying on a stranger (i.e., the judge) to impose his or her judgment on your unique family circumstances.
Lowering expenses and the emotional toll
It is estimated that a litigated divorce usually costs between two to ten times more than a mediated divorce. In addition to the economic benefits of mediation, mediation is usually a friendlier (or at least less hostile) experience. Litigation can breed resentment, while mediation may spark a more conciliatory tone as couples try to work together–a skill that will continue to be needed once the divorce is final, especially when children are involved.
Mediation is not the right solution for everyone
Mediation only works if you and your spouse can put aside differences and work together to settle your divorce. Since both individuals must agree to the end result, you cannot mediate if you are hoping to “win at divorce” and leave with the bulk of the family assets. It may also not work for marriages involving abuse.
A skilled divorce attorney with mediation experience can discuss your situation and advise whether mediation is worth pursuing. If it is unsuccessful, the court option is always available to you.