Getting divorce is an expensive undertaking. In some cities, it can cost on average $20,000.00 per party in a divorce case. In California, “[a] small trial can run from $40,000 to $80,000 in California (on the low-end) to $75,000 to $150,000,” says family law attorney Steve Mindel. Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/cities-where-getting-divorce-will-cost-you-2013-11#ixzz3F1Acv479
But there is an alternative to getting a divorce through litigation. Divorce mediation is a process where a neutral third party, who is likely to be an experienced family law attorney, helps you and your spouse separate without spending all of the money in your bank accounts. Here are the top five reasons why using mediation to work out the details of your divorce is ideal:
1. You and your spouse can make decision involving your money and children.
Unlike litigation where you have a judge or commissioner deciding your fate, you and spouse make all the decisions about your children and assets in mediation. This is a great advantage to litigation because you can take the control in your case away from a family law court judge, who generally does not know the specific needs of your family.
2. You do not have to air your dirty laundry to the public.
Did you know that whatever you file with the court is public record? Yes, that means if you file papers describing your husband’s gambling addiction or explaining why you think your wife is hiding assets, the public can easily obtain these records. All of the information about your family that once was private will become public and anyone can have access to them.
Fortunately, mediation is a process cloaked in privacy and confidentiality. Everything discussed during a mediation session is private and confidential, and the mediator cannot be compelled to testify about the information discussed. Except for the settlement agreement, documents created during the mediation process are also confidential. Thus, some people chose mediation simply because they prefer to keep information about their bank accounts, children, habits and marital woes confidential.
3. Your children will thank you.
Numerous studies have shown that children exposed to parental conflicts suffer serious problems as adults and generally experience low self-esteem, deep anger, shame and frustration which in turn severely affect the parent-child relationship. Divorce litigation brings out the worse in parents because they automatically become adversaries, and the children are left in the middle to fend for themselves. Divorce mediation, however, helps parents resolve their conflicts without the involvement of the court and without having to expose their children to their marital problems.
4. You can end mediation at any time.
In divorce litigation, it is difficult to get out of the court system once your case has been filed. The court will set hearings and deadlines for you and your attorney to comply with. However, in divorce mediation, either party can end the mediation at anytime. The only commitment you will have to mediation is to cooperate and work with your spouse to get a divorce without going through a drawn out court battle.
5. You can save on attorney’s fees.
As mentioned above, the average cost for a divorce case for each spouse is approximately $20,000.00. A divorce mediator, who is also a family law attorney in California, charges any where from $300.00 to $750 per hour. Mediation is much less expensive because both spouses are using one mediator to resolve their differences, instead of each side hiring their own attorney. Although the spouses can hire their own consulting attorney during the mediation process, they will still spend less money in mediation because mediation will help them avoid a court battle.