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ANSWER: It is less painful, and costs tremendously less; saving more for your family—after the divorce is complete.
The short answer is “No”. When there is mental or physical abuse in a relationship, or when one side is so selfish that has no value or respect for the rights of the other side, the is no room for pretending you can get a fair deal from your spouse. In an initial consultation we always make sure we find out right away whether a mediated solution is probable in that specific case.
There are some divorces that need to be litigated, but most do not have to be. I suggest you read my article “Is Divorce Mediation for You?” for a more detailed answer, but in summary, if you understand that a divorce has to be fair to both sides, and can respect each other’s rights as a couple, even as you feel hurt, and disappointed, then you are objective enough to mediate your divorce.
For mediation to work in your divorce there has to be a recognition by both sides that while they might be hurting and divorce can be emotionally devastating, the process itself does not have to force them into bankruptcy or lead to a War of the Roses necessarily. Smart people mediate every dispute—diplomacy is always preferred when you have willing partners.
Answer is an emphatic “Yes”—the more you have, and the wealthier you are, the more you can be exposed to litigation expenses. Some expenses are essential and inevitable. For a more complex marital estate to be mediated and legally and fairly allocated in a divorce, you might need a forensic accounting, business appraisals, and evaluation of stocks and stock options, and so on. But, you would need these services even if you litigate. The great difference is that if you can manage to proceed by consent and have an “uncontested” divorce, you will:
- Need one expert of each discipline mutually selected.
- Have the option of retaining a Private Judge to handle matters efficiently and privately.
- Even keep the matter under seal and private without public exposure.
Some of these options are also available in litigation, but usually you can double the experts and set the attorneys on both sides disputing each other’s experts and accounting, count on finger pointing and waste of time and money, and depending on who you are, unfaltering publicity, and scandalous public exposure.
What about the Hurt and Bitter Emotions Divorce Causes? How Can We Mediate When We Cannot Even Be in the Same Room Together?
There is a place for everything. For emotional hurt and disappointment that divorce causes, you should seek therapy and healing not found at all in the courts, but in care of a therapist, or in a spiritual place you feel safe, or with friends and family. Divorce is about separating ONE unit (the marital unit) into TWO hopefully functional new lives. It is not easy, but that is the goal. Venting your frustration and pain in court is a very expensive and ineffective way to deal with your pain and disappointment.
If you find a Mediated Divorce is suitable for you, then I would congratulate you, because of all the trouble, pain and cost you will save your family—both parties that is–will benefit greatly, and if there are any children in your marriage even more so.
An increasing number of couples today are choosing an uncontested (read, friendly) approach to divorce. Even more increasing are the numbers of self-represented contested divorce cases filed each year. The reasons for this are many, including the pain sometimes inherent in the divorce court battle, the potentially adverse effect the divorce process has on children, and probably the greatest reason is the financial cost of hiring two attorneys and the costs of a prolonged divorce litigation.
Unlike an attorney as legal representative for one side, an attorney as mediator for both sides is in a position to help the couple together as they make the difficult transition from married to not married to each other anymore. As a mediator, an attorney is not constrained by the usual ethical obligation to represent either one or the other person involved in the case.
It is particularly noticed in light of the economic challenges we have seen these past years, that couples facing divorce are seeking less-expensive options to help them dissolve the marriage. As the number of self-represented couples seeking a divorce increase each year, there is a definite need for affordable and perhaps less stressful divorce services, and therefore a growing need for Family Law Attorneys who understand really well how to mediate for these couples, as well as the absolutely required legal considerations. A mediated divorce, where the two spouses can hire one attorney serving as their mediator, is beneficial not only for the clients, but also for any children involved as well as extended family and friends who are also affected.
The benefits of mediation are generally known, and such benefits are more pronounced in divorce where the issues are often personal and private in nature, they involve one family often sharing common goals or interests, and the items (or children) at issue “belong” to both parties and will, at the conclusion be divided and shared.
For most people, going through dissolving a marriage and divorce is probably the most painful and stressful experience they have ever been involved in.
Fear, guilt, hopelessness, depression, anger and insecurity are just common emotions people feel when going through a divorce. They are also very vulnerable during this period, and would follow to path to war out of emotion rather than keeping a cool head and examine what is involved in the divorce process in an objective way.
If you are angry and hurt and think you can use the courts to vent your frustration, and seek punishment or revenge on your spouse, you will find the litigation road long, frustrating, painful, and also very expensive.
Mediation is for smart people who are not seeking revenge on someone they used to love, and are more interested to admit their relationship has failed and are willing to HELP EACH OTHER MOVE ON with their lives separately from each other. Who knows? Some divorced couples even manage to have a civil and friendly relationship after divorce; especially if they have to co-parent and raise their kids still in co-operation with each other, but in two separate homes.