The Alternative to Litigation

Close-up of therapist for couple analyzing behavior of spouses

The legal system is designed to drain your wallet with the clock running every minute at exorbitant fees, exacerbated by emotions. The divorce process is rarely easy and often the worse experience in a person’s life, especially when the battle become embroiled over custody of children. You’ll likely wonder, “can I get joint custody?” or “is it better to get sole custody?” It can be difficult to choose for yourself which course of action is best for your children.

Surprisingly, most people don’t know there are alternative methods to get divorced that are not nearly as treacherous. If you are on speaking terms with your partner, you just may be a candidate for mediation. Mediation is the process of working with a counselor to negotiate an agreement. Once the agreement has been drafted, each person then has the opportunity to bring it to his or her own attorney for review. When you work with a mediator, you avoid litigation, stay out of court, and reduce both the amount of time it takes to get divorced, and the stress involved in the process.

Time: In addition to the time it takes for paperwork to go back and forth for review and editing by each party’s attorney, the legal process is often drawn out when one person refuses to negotiate or when a highly charged accusation is introduced to affect finances or child custody. When one person wants custody and accuses the other of neglect, abuse, or inappropriate behavior, third parties enter the process to evaluate the children and determine whether they are cared for in their current setting. If you decide to work with a mediator, you need to be on the same page about sharing custody of the children. Elimination of a custody battle will significantly speed up the process and create a better experience for the children. There is often a lot of hurtful accusation in this process and rarely a benefit to creating hostility. Children are often the biggest losers in these situations.

Stress: Fighting about any part of the divorce process is stressful. People spend more time worrying about what will happen to them because there are so many different directions a divorce can take, depending on assets, family-owned business or disputes over how to raise the children. If you can remain level-headed while working things out with your partner and stay open-minded about negotiating terms, you will move past these difficult points faster and spare everyone involved a great deal of stress.

Money: The most expensive divorce path ends in a trial. Most divorces do not go that far, however, you can still drop tens of thousands of dollars before coming to an agreement as the agreement goes back and forth between the lawyers and you go in and out of court, awaiting new court dates. It can drag on and on and, ultimately, you will both have less money at the end of the process to apply towards your future lives apart.

Mediation merits consideration for people who understand they may not get everything they want but are willing to make a few sacrifices in exchange for the benefits of a peaceful and quick divorce.

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