The Advantages of Mediation
Divorce can be a messy and challenging process, even when the spouses are on good speaking terms. The division of assets, custody of children, and other aspects of divorce can cause contention and be very difficult to manage on your own. For many, the solution is to hire a lawyer and work the divorce through court proceedings—which is considered an “adversarial” method of resolving a divorce. But there is often a better solution: mediation.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is the process of hiring an independent expert to help negotiate the terms of a divorce. It is an “in-between” solution that is softer and less expensive than court proceedings but is more formal and more likely to succeed than direct negotiations. A family law mediator helps keep tensions to a minimum and encourages both parties to seek workable solutions that are amenable on both sides. Mediation is often an excellent solution for parties that are deadlocked or in unwavering disagreement. A solution usually exists, but it can be hard to see through the fog of animosity and stress.
Benefits of Mediation
1. Less Costly
When a divorce goes to court, both parties typically have separate legal counsel and are at the mercy of court dates. Not only does this involve a much higher legal cost, but it can also keep assets in a “pending” status for an extended period that can create problems.
2. Less Conflict
Settling a divorce in court is inherently contentious, and it tends to be a game of proving to the judge that one spouse is more deserving financially, is a better fit for the children, and has a larger right to marital assets. Court proceedings can aggravate animosity between two parties, and often results in the children being put under unnecessary stress as custody is determined. The last thing any parent wants is for their child to be asked to give statements or appear in court. In addition, two former partners who could have resolved the critical details together can be embroiled in a hurtful process in court. Mediation allows you to avoid a trial with the goal of a fair resolution.
3. Maintains Privacy
Mediation documents are private and do not enter public records, thereby keeping the details out of the public eye. For parties who maintain substantial or sensitive assets, or who want to make sure their children are never involved in any way, mediation is likely the ideal solution.
4. Higher Level of Acceptance and Compliance
A mediator does not dictate the settlement or force any agreement but instead helps facilitate an agreement between both parties through an uncontested divorce. Settlements arrived at through mediation are generally more agreeable and performed in a manner that neither party feels like they “lost.” With the higher level of an amicable agreement, settlements from mediation are followed more consistently than those ordered by a judge during court proceedings.
5. Expert Advice
Mediators are professionals who have usually helped hundreds of individuals through divorces, and as such, have a lot of experience identifying fair solutions that work for both parties. Working directly with your former partner is risky, as you may not be aware of your rights under the law. Mediators bring their expertise to the table and have the training and skills to help you achieve a fair resolution so that you can move on with your life.
Ready for Discuss Your Case?
As attorneys, our goal is to help our clients through challenging times. In most cases, we recommend using a mediator before considering settlement in court—for the reasons mentioned above and more. If you are interested in further legal advice or looking to settle in court, contact Huguenor Mattis, A.P.C. Our talented San Diego divorce attorneys are not afraid of a challenging case and have over 35 years of experience successfully resolving divorces for parties going through difficult times. Call us at (858) 458-9500 today to learn if we are the right firm for you.