By: Christa Banfield Esq.
Without fail, every person I meet with regarding a divorce will ask me, “How much is this going to cost me from start to finish?” And for good reason. People already realize that they are going to have to split their assets upon divorce, they don’t want to think about losing even more of those assets to get through the process! This is one of the biggest draws of mediation - the cost savings as compared to litigation.
There are several reasons mediation tends to cost less than litigation. Typically the mediation process is faster than litigation and, as they say, time is money! Also, because of the inherently untrusting nature of litigation, the discovery and disclosure process tends to be more extensive, which can drive up costs. But the main cost driver in litigation is preparing for court - there is a lot of time and effort that has to go into preparing the exhibits, testimony, and pleadings that are necessary for trial. Take that out of the equation, as you do with mediation, and there’s a substantial cost savings.
There are other pros to mediation as well:
- Mediation typically moves much faster than litigation. Who wants to be “in the process of divorcing” for 6, 9, even 12 months or more?
- Mediated agreements are made between the parties involved, litigated rulings are made by a Judge who doesn’t know you (or your children). A feeling of ownership in the decisions made makes for longer-lasting agreements, and therefore less post-decree litigation.
- Mediation is a cooperative process, while litigation is inherently combative. Obviously, engaging in a cooperative process might be hard for a couple deciding to divorce, but keeping the combativeness to a minimum is a positive step towards building a successful co-parenting relationship post-divorce.
- Mediation is confidential. During the litigation process, especially if court hearings are necessary, your personal and financial information is laid out in the public record. This is one reason why mediation is so popular with celebrities and other high-asset individuals who wish to keep their affairs and finances private.
“So if mediation is so great, why doesn’t everyone do it?” you ask. (Or, I’m imagining you’re asking, just go with it…) Well, as with all things, mediation is not for everyone. Join me next week when I go into details about when or why mediation is not a good idea.
If you would like to speak with one of our experienced Scottsdale Divorce Attorneys to explore the benefits of mediation and whether it would work for you, please call OWENS & PERKINS at 480.630.2464 to schedule your 30-minute free consultation.