When couples head for divorce, they often see just two roads ahead: collaboration and litigation. One involves a negotiating room with two disgruntled partners and a pair of lawyers. The other entails lengthy and expensive courtroom battles over who gets what – from the kids to your Aunt Linda’s silverware. But there is another option: mediation.
Divorce mediation involves a neutral third party (a.k.a. a mediator) who works with couples to help them resolve the issues in their divorce. Mediators do not make decisions, nor do they advocate for one party or another. They simply help the couple communicate and come to an agreement.
If you’re looking for an alternative to the usual divorce route, here are four benefits to choosing mediation:
1. Mediation Puts You in the Driver’s Seat
By nature, mediation is a voluntary process, and the mediator is merely there to help you and your spouse come to an agreement on the issues.
All decisions are made by you and your spouse together.
When divorces head to the courtroom, these decisions are put in the hands of the judge handling the case. Couples have little control over important matters, like child custody and dividing assets.
2. Mediation is Easier on the Kids
Divorce can be especially difficult for children emotionally, mentally and even physically at times. Litigation can make the entire process even more challenging and downright traumatizing in some cases. Children are forced to appear in court, and often wind up seeing their parents in a constant state of anger.
Mediaton, on the other hand, requires cooperation and collaboration. In many cases, children are not involved in the process at all. Still, mediators educate parties in a neutral way and engage parents in a less-inflammatory manner.
3. Mediation is Less Costly
According to Legal Zoom, the average cost of a contested divorce can range anywhere between $15,000 and $30,000. The average cost of mediation is around $5,000.
Rather than having to pay for two separate attorneys, parties pay one mediator. Lawyer fees and lengthy courtroom battles drive divorce costs through the roof. Mediators do their best to resolve the issues as quickly and efficiently as possible, ultimately helping clients save money on their divorce.
“Mediation helps couples work through the divorce process as efficiently as possible, which leads to money and time savings,” says a Minnesota mediator.
4. Mediation Leads to Quicker Resolution
While it is true that mediation is not the right choice for every couple, it is the quickest solution for couples who can and are willing to work together to resolve their issues.
Litigation can add months or years to a divorce in some cases. Parties must wait for court dates and meetings with attorneys.
When choosing mediation, couples decide when to schedule their sessions and how often.
Couples that can cooperate and collaborate will often find that mediation is the most efficient and least costly option for divorce. The process is often less stressful and painful for children as well.