If you are considering divorce, you may not realize that your family has a choice to either mediate or litigate your divorce settlement. When there is an impending divorce-mediate or litigate is a question spouses should consider. Most families simply hire the best attorneys they can afford and expect to head to court to litigate. What they don’t realize when they choose to litigate is that they are likely looking at 18 months to 2 years in the judicial process and an average expense of $45,000 to $50,000 and with some cases adding up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
A much more effective method is to seek out a Family Divorce Mediation Center and work with a Mediator and the Center’s Attorneys to reach a settlement. Qualified, trained registered Mediators in Georgia can be found at the Georgia Commission on Dispute Resolution http://www.godr.org/, however most Family Mediation Centers will provide these professionals for you. Following this alternative method allows the family to avoid the judicial process altogether.
Couples can usually reach a settlement within 2-4 months and costs remain substantially lower at around $1000 to $6000 (most families will shell out $5000 to $10,000 simply retaining 2 Attorneys to represent the spouses). Mediation is the most effective way to reach a settlement that meets the needs of all parties involved. Who best to make final decisions on your family but you and your spouse, taking your minor children into consideration? Why leave these important decisions to a Judge in a trial who doesn’t know you or anything about your family and already resents the fact that two married people can’t be civilized enough to work out a reasonable arrangement and choose to waste time and taxpayers money in a court of law?
The Judicial System in Civil cases is designed to uphold the laws of the state in which you reside regarding the dissolution of the family entity. It is not designed to pass judgment or punish individuals on moral or ethical issues. A spouse will not get a larger settlement just because they were wronged in the marriage (despite what a litigating attorney promises pre-trial). It is important to address emotional issues in family counseling and not expect the judicial process to hold individuals accountable for their choice of behaviors that lead to the breakdown of the relationship.
In many cases litigating style Attorneys will feed off of the emotional aspects of a case, promising a financially rewarding punishment and accountability simply to increase billable hours. Save family funds by eliminating the emotional aspect while in the divorce process. Trials are very costly and result in big paydays for Litigators, full days of depositions are required prior to the trials and a trial could take several days, costing your family many hours of unnecessary legal expenses ($15,000-$35,000 on average), missed time from work and can greatly increase tension between partners that overflows into Co-Parenting issues post settlement (often times for many years to come).
If you have a lot of conflict in your marriage, a mediation where the parties are separated in different rooms can be very productive. An Attorney can attend the mediation with you and most Family Divorce Mediation Centers can provide an Attorney to represent you at the mediation at a reasonable hourly fee without having to pay a large up-front retainer.
Do you have a personal story that you can share regarding these issues? I would love to hear from you. More financial settlement advice and a sample custody plan in Transitions Divorce Prep Workbook
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Disclaimer: This is my personal blog. The opinions I express here do not necessarily represent those of my organization, Transitions Resource, LLC. The information I provide is on an as-is basis. I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this blog and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its use.