Sometimes when families are asked to try mediation, their immediate response is, “He’ll never agree to anything,” or “She’ll never agree to anything.” However, the reality is that most (95-98%) of cases settle. So that means that most people eventually do agree to something! If you are one of those people that believes mediation is a waste of time, well consider that you are far more likely to agree to a settlement that to ever go before a Judge. Here are some other reasons to try mediation:
1. Mediation is way cheaper than going to Court.
Hands down, mediation costs less than going through the Court process. While in the last few years, our courts have become more efficient, the process of divorce still is more expensive than coming to an agreement in mediation.First, most people split the cost of the mediator. Second, if you choose to hire an attorney to review the final agreement reached, you are paying for much less attorney time than if you hire an attorney to guide you through the court process and appear in court on your behalf. (Most of the work in a divorce is getting to the settlement).
2. Mediation is the quicker way to obtain a divorce.
Using the courts to obtain a divorce takes approximately 1 year, on average, if all goes smoothly. (That’s if all goes smoothly.If it doesn’t, expect it to take longer). Depending on the county and delays due to COVID, it could be longer. With mediation, coming to an agreement can take as long or as short as you would like. Once the two of you come to an agreement, paperwork must still be filed with the court to obtain an actual divorce, but the process is streamlined by the courts. Instead of one year, it could be approximately three months, again, depending on the county.
3. Mediation is low(er) conflict dispute resolution.
Notice we didn’t say “no” conflict.Very few divorces are entirely conflict free. However, in divorces where both parties are committed to the process of resolving the divorce outside of the traditional court process, there tends to be less conflict.This is especially true in divorces where there are minimal assets or no children. During mediation, each party is able to voice his or her opinions and be heard. This leads to more open communication and, hopefully, a settlement.The court process does not always allow for that.In court, your attorney does the talking for you and the courts communicate directly with your attorney.
4. Mediation gives you more control over the outcome.
If you go before a judge regarding the custody of your children, in the end, someone else is making a decision about your life and the lives of your children.In mediation, you have a say in the outcome.At mediation, issues such as a parenting time schedule can be negotiated. You and your spouse can choose a schedule that works for you and your children. A judge won’t, and sometimes cannot, consider alternative solutions.On many issues judges are bound by the law and don’t have the type of flexibility you have in mediation. In mediation, no suggestion is discarded.Alternatives are discussed by the parties, with the mediator assisting you with the outcome.
5. What have you got to lose?
Everything discussed in mediation is confidential. In other words, say you make an offer in mediation that your spouse does not agree with and later, you are in court over the same issue. Your spouse cannot tell the judge what your previously offered. In other words, your good faith bargaining cannot come back to haunt you. And if mediation does not work and you do not reach an agreement, you are free to utilize the court process.
At Netsquire, we pride ourselves on offering alternatives to a traditional divorce. We provide mediation services at NJ Divorce Solutions. If you’re interested in learning more about us to see if we can help you, schedule a Client Vision Meetinghere.