Despite our best efforts 50% of marriages end in divorce. If a marriage has to end, if you have done all you can to save your marriage, at least end it with as much dignity and fairness while keeping as much control over the process as you can. It is vital to work together if you have children or significant assets or else you will pay the price if you each hire your own lawyers. When lawyers get involved in a case, the bad feelings and cost rise significantly. Couples who mediate instead of litigate save more than just money, they save their co-parenting relationship. Divorce is hard enough without adding the bitterness and distrust that comes with a court fight. Sometimes couples are so focused on their own pain it is hard to imagine what their children are feeling. The hatred of your soon to be ex that comes with a court battle will be impossible to hide from the kids. After going through World War III, do you think you will be relaxed and comfortable raising the children with your enemy?
Divorce mediation is the best alternative for rational people whose goal is to get out without hurting each other. Some people really do want to fight. They don’t mind spending all their money as long as it means the other person won’t get it. Mediation wouldn’t be satisfying for someone with that kind of agenda. If the idea of saving as much money as you can while staying out of court sounds good to you than you owe it to yourself to explore mediation. Once you see how peaceful divorce can be, you will be glad you mediated your case instead of fighting in court. It may sound strange that a divorce can be peaceful since most people associate divorce with hiring separate attorneys and doing legal battle, but my own practice proves that is not the case.
When the mediator is a lawyer, they do all the paperwork necessary to start and complete the divorce as well as answering all your legal questions, helping you negotiate a settlement and drafting the Marital Settlement Agreement. Use an attorney who has a powerful intention to complete the process, instead of dragging it out to line their own pockets. Everyone knows someone who has been through an ugly divorce. You have heard stories of lawyers getting more of the marital assets then the clients get. Children of a nasty divorce know how torn they feel between their parents. No loving parent would want their children to experience such a thing.
As in all areas of your life, the choices you make will determine the outcome. If you go down the adversarial road the outcome is fairly certain. There will be “winners” and “losers” and the accompanying hard feelings. It will be expensive, not only financially but emotionally. The better choice is to work together to end your marriage instead of dragging each other through the courts. As the child of divorce, let me assure you that the best gift you can give your children is a “good” divorce because the alternative really hurts!