Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that allows parties to move away from the traditional litigation process and maintain control of their own outcomes. Mediation boasts high rates of success, particularly for family court cases, saving significant time and money. During divorce mediation, a third party neutral, called a mediator, assists the parties as they divide property (assets and debts), make financial decisions about spousal support (alimony) and/or child support, determine custody and parenting time (visitation), and make other important decisions to finalize their case.
Divorce mediation is an excellent alternative to litigation because it is much less expensive, it resolves cases much more quickly, it protects the privacy of the parties, and if children are involved, it helps preserve the future parenting relationship of the parties, which benefits the entire family.
Attorneys are paid hourly to attend court, write letters and emails, make phone calls, and draft court documents. Since it can take many months or even years to resolve a divorce case with contested issues, these expenses can easily reach tens of thousands of dollars per party. Fees for divorce mediation vary depending on how many issues are being addressed, in some cases parties are able to resolve all issues for their entire divorce for a couple of thousand dollars total – a small fraction of the typical cost of traditional litigation.
Time is another factor to consider. A traditional divorce process takes between 6 months and 1 year to complete; and it is not uncommon for highly contested cases to drag on for years. Mediation can be scheduled with a phone call, agreements can be reached in a matter of hours and entire cases can be settled in a few months saving time and money not to mention mental health. Timely resolution reduces stress and anxiety and allows parties to move forward with their lives more quickly.
Finally, mediation is a confidential process which means the details of settlement negotiations are kept private even after mediation has concluded. If a trial is needed, the private details of the parties’ marriage and finances become part of the public record. Most parties would prefer the intimate details of their marriage remain behind closed doors.