Litigation-“What percentage of litigation run out of resources before a trial ever starts, rather than have a settlement result from strategic decision-making?”
Litigation often forgets that these two people will be working together as co-parents for a number of years. The damage done to the future relationship is hard to undo.
Mediation preferences the needs of the children without neglecting your needs. This means your long-term relationship is likely to be intact so that you can co-parent effectively.
You may be friendly now and we would like to preserve whatever friendly feelings you have.
Every call and email can cost you. Wouldn’t you rather have the resources and learn how to look them up yourself, empower yourself and then make an informed decision? You can always consult a lawyer if you are struggling.
Many couples who litigate do not resolve the underlying issues and then go back to court to re-litigate the issue.
Mediation cannot solve every problem either, but there is now a process in place to make sure you get your needs met.
Why is mediation so much cheaper? The hourly fee is the biggest part. Both of you share the cost of one mediator, each hour. The fee is usually less than the hourly fee of an attorney, as well. There is less likely to be fighting, so the problems resolve faster and more efficiently. You also are applying negotiation skills on a level playing field, gaining valuable experience for when you have disagreements in the future. Mediators have mini legal centers and libraries at their office for you to help yourself.
Common Mistake: This time is ripe with ambivalence, mixed feelings. Part of you wants to just get it over with and maybe another part secretly wishes you could work it out.
“I just want to be done,” said about 20 million people. They walk away from money and homes and end up regretting it, because they could not handle their feelings. Rushing things will cause mistakes that may affect you the rest of your life. I encourage you to deal with your feelings wisely so you avoid this mistake.
Don’t throw your ex under the bus. Especially, don’t do this in front of your kids. Kids are protective of their parents and you are making them choose. That is unfair to them. Your kids should not be privy to your marital information, including money. No saying, “Well, if she’d pay more money, maybe we’d be able to go to Disney.” “Daddy is late with money again, I guess we can’t go out to a movie.”
My personal least favorite is calling CPS. In 20 years of marriage, you never called CPS on your ex. As soon as you are divorcing, they magically became an unfit parent? CPS gets more than their share of these and it is unfair. Don’t do this. If they are unfit or did something that warrants this, obviously you call. If you are using CPS to bolster your case, that is not only a losing strategy, it is dead wrong.
At this point in the process, you likely need more emotional support. Get it. Ask for and receive, help.
You are in control of the pace and direction of your mediation. You can change anything at anytime and can end mediation for any reason at any time. You can put the process on hold. We are in control of the “how” of talking it through- keeping you on track without taking sides.
How long is the process?
This, of course, depends on the complexity of your financial position and the issues you have between you…If you do more work outside the session, collecting info and sharing and discussing it, you will spend less time in the session. If you spend a lot of time dealing with the past instead of the future, it will take longer.
Compare the costs of litigation to mediation. Imagine your lawyer charging, say $5,000 for a retainer and charging $250-300 per hour. Your ex is paying the exact same to their lawyer. Unless you know a ton about divorce law, you will have multiple calls and emails, asking for information and support. These cost money and add up quickly. Then your lawyer contacts the other lawyer and they negotiate at the hourly rate, for each of you. Once they agree and it goes to court, imagine how much you owe. It can be really expensive!
With a mediator, you know pretty much what you will pay- with very few exceptions. You are in the same room talking to one another, so no real surprises. Once you agree, you take the draft to your lawyer to ensure your needs are fairly represented. Then come back and polish it. Once more to your lawyer and back to the mediator to negotiate. Once you two agree and the lawyers approve, the agreement goes to the judge to approve or not. The lawyers and the mediator are invested in making sure the judge understands any creative solutions and the rationale behind those solutions, so that increases the likelihood of being approved. Wait and then you are divorced.