Divorce is something that’s often seen as ‘bitter’ and ‘combative’ in the public eye, complete with fierce and costly battles in court. Sadly, many America will go through it, as 40-50% of all marriages in America end in divorce.
However, the truth is an amicable, non-court divorce is very much possible through mediation, to help the couple openly discuss and settle issues pertaining to the divorce – e.g., alimony, child custody and support, property division, etc.
With that said, there are pros and cons to consider before you take the plunge:
Advantages of Mediation for Divorce
It’s less time-consuming
Divorce mediation is typically less time consuming than a court divorce. Not only is the preparation required for mediation much shorter, but the scheduling also takes relatively less time.
It’s less expensive
While court proceedings can cost you a pretty penny, mediation is a better option for the smart and savvy couple because the legal preparation is not as costly. You and your spouse spit your mediator’s fees. It is still, however, recommended that you have a skilled divorce attorney by your side before taking part in the mediation.
Gives you more control
With a court divorce, there’s little to no control that you or your spouse can exercise. Whatever the court decides is final. A mediation attorney, on the other hand, gives couples more control so that they can choose the best terms to part.
Since divorce mediation takes place behind closed doors, your business remains “your business.” Those who choose the alternative must accept that private details of their marriage will be discussed openly in a courtroom full of legal representatives.
Disadvantages of Mediation for Divorce
Not suitable for every couple
If your spouse is the kind of person who’s controlling, vindictive, dishonest, or an ’emotional bully,’ mediation is probably not the best option. The last thing you want is to have your future ex hammering and to gnaw away at you, pushing for a compromise.
Mediation isn’t ‘legal advice.’
Mediators are ‘neutral third parties’, who are not qualified to provide legal advice. Should you go into mediation without an experienced legal counsel to oversee the process, you may end up making costly decisions that can negatively impact your livelihood and even that of your children. If you want a third party’s advice to be binding, you should look into arbitration for your divorce.
Emotions can run high
Divorce is understandably an emotional time for those involved, making it quite challenging to set those emotions aside in the heat of the moment. Even though many couples have found divorce mediation to be a good option, others have found the hard way – that putting control in their soon-to-be ex’s hands can have emotionally negative consequences.
Potential waste of money
Even though mediation is a cheaper option for soon-to-be-divorced couples, it can potentially result in wasted money. For instance, if both parties fail to reach an agreement within the allotted time frame, they may have to start all over again, or worse yet, proceed with a court divorce. To minimize this risk, however, you should take an experienced divorce attorney with you.