Facing divorce and concerned about a long, costly court battle? You are smart to be concerned. As an attorney mediator, I see couples walk into my office who have been in heavy litigation for months, if not years and have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars. Sometimes litigation is warranted – especially if one spouse is trying to hide money, is unwilling to cooperate with the process or is just so difficult that only litigation will work. But what about everyone else? What about couples who both agree divorce is the only option left, and are willing to cooperate with the process? Mediation may be an excellent option for those parties.
Mediation is a process where a neutral third party helps the parties involved in a dispute reach a mutually acceptable agreement. It is a voluntary process, and the parties have control over the outcome. In contrast, litigation is an adversarial process where a judge or jury decides the outcome of the dispute. Here are some general reasons why mediation may be better than litigation for your divorce:
- Cost-effective: Mediation is generally less expensive than litigation because it involves fewer court appearances and less time spent on legal procedures. We work through the process without any court appearances unless one is needed to “prove up” the divorce for a few minutes after all agreements have been reached. In fact, to save on legal costs, parties may elect to work with a non-lawyer, financial neutral in the beginning and only bring in attorneys when the estate has been valued and is ready to be negotiated.
- Faster: Litigation can take many months or even years to resolve a case through the court system. Mediation can be completed in a shorter time. A mediator, in conjunction with a financial professional, can work with the parties for a few months to help you resolve your financial issues and if you have minor children, a parenting plan. Texas mandates a 60 day waiting period from the date of filing to the date you can be divorced; we typically work within that time to help you complete the discussions and agreements.
- Less stressful: Mediation is a less adversarial process than litigation, which can be emotionally draining for the parties involved. We strive to help the parties achieve a win-win solution in our collaborative focused process.
- More control: In mediation, the parties have more control over the outcome of the dispute than in litigation, where a judge or jury decides the outcome. Through the mediation process, each person has their own collaborative-focused attorney providing legal guidance, but in the end, you make the decisions.
- Better for children: Mediation can be less harmful to children than litigation because it can reduce conflict between the parents and help them to communicate better. We strive to help parents build and/or maintain a solid co-parenting relationship after the divorce.
If you are facing divorce and want to avoid a long, costly court battle, schedule a consultation today to discuss the mediation process.