Why Choose Divorce Mediation over Going to Court
When a divorce begins to get rough, one party may say in frustration, “Fine. Then we’ll just go to court.” In the heat of the moment, that may seem the best, or only, way forward.
But is it the best option? Possibly not. Despite how attractive it may seem to imagine a judge berating your ex and giving you everything you want, that scenario is probably unrealistic. Going to trial really should be the last resort after you have at least considered all other alternatives, many of which are as effective, or perhaps more so, than going to court.
Divorce Mediation is an Alternative to Going to Court
One such alternative is mediation. Mediation takes place outside the courtroom, before a neutral third party, or mediator. The mediator will listen to both you and your ex, and then will suggest a solid middle ground. Mediators may or may not be lawyers or retired judges – some mediators are social workers or mental health professionals. But whatever background the mediator has, a good mediator is very familiar with the process and issues that arise in a divorce, and have special expertise in finding creative solutions that ultimately will lead to an agreement between the divorcing parties.
Some Benefits to Divorce Mediation
There really is no down-side to mediation. Anything discussed in the context of the mediation, and any settlement offers that are proposed, are considered confidential and cannot be used against either of the parties if they do end up going to trial. While many couples find the presence of their attorneys to be helpful, attorney attendance at the mediation is not required.
However, in addition to providing moral support, an experienced divorce attorney such as Michigan family law specialist Starla Zehr will be able to anticipate issues that may arise, as well as potential consequences of a given course of action. At the very least, your attorney should be consulted before you enter into any type of binding agreement.
Divorce Mediation Saves Time and Money
Mediation can save a lot of emotional energy, time, and money in contrast to a trial. Each party is given the opportunity to bring up any issues of concern. The mediator listens carefully, and then makes suggestions or recommendations. These recommendations are not binding to either party, and each of you may further the discussions by giving input. In this climate of give and take, in most cases a proposed settlement results. This is in sharp contrast to a court trial, where the parties give their side of an argument and the judge makes a binding decision, or ruling. In a mediation, you retain a far greater degree of control over the outcome.
Because court dockets are crowded and judicial time is limited, court delays or postponements by either side can cause a divorce to stall or move forward at what seems to be a snail’s pace. Court hearings can be extremely stressful emotionally, and a delay only makes things worse. Plus, legal fees continue to mount up in the interim. Mediation can short circuit a lot of these frustrations, and the atmosphere generated by the mediator is far less emotionally charged.
Divorce Mediation Encourages Participation in the Negotiations
There is no divorce that provides a complete win for either party. There is a measure of give and take that goes into any settlement. The question is, would you rather a judge decide who gives and who takes, or would you prefer to be actively involved in the process. Mediation can provide a peace of mind because the parties do take an active role in the negotiation of their divorce. This increases the likelihood that each party will have some degree of satisfaction with the resulting settlement, a settlement that is fair and reflects what is really important to you.
When emotions run high in a contentious divorce, going to court may seem like a good idea. But court litigation is expensive, takes an emotional toll on both parties, and may not yield the results you hope for. Our attorneys are family law experts located in Michigan. We are happy to discuss all options available to you, and will help you decide if mediation may indeed be the wisest course of action to you. We are committed to guiding you to the best course of action for your unique situation.