An alternative to taking your divorce to trial is divorce mediation, which is where you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse will decide how the marital assets are divided and other aspects of dissolving the marriage that a judge would usually preside over. In doing so, you save a ton of money, you can control the outcome, and if there are kids involved, you have more say in their fate.
When you litigate your divorce, you are going to spend a lot of money, no question about it. The combined attorney’s fees alone will be upwards of $25,000 because you’re paying for things like discovery, delays, trials and numerous over-the-phone conversations between lawyers. However, if you mediate, the total fees, which include the review by the consulting attorney, as well as paperwork perpetration could be $5,000 max.
One thing I like about mediation is that it allows the parents to remain in a desired amount of control when it comes to the outcome. Because it is you and your spouse that are presiding over everything, there isn’t a feeling of helplessness that can come with having a judge making every final decision.
Which leads into a subject that strikes a chord with every caring parent, and that is that with mediation, you and your spouse can determine, together, what is in the best interests of your kids. If the case goes to court, and custody is contested, the court will probably appoint a lawyer for your children, who almost never listen to either parent and like to propose invasive psychological evaluations of everyone in the family. Not only is it a scarring and troubling experience, but it also polarizes the family at the worst possible time.
Mediation is only a possibility if the spouses can communicate in an efficient way, and aren’t out to get the other one.