Below is a comparison of the three most commonly chosen paths for divorce proceedings. Through this comparison, it is clear why mediation is the most preferable and sensible way to divorce.

Traditional Divorce Litigation

If you have ever had conversation with anyone who has litigated a divorce or if you've seen a friend or family member go through the process, then you understand why litigation is the most destructive means to divorce. People who have been through the litigation process often describe it as "dehumanizing," "a nightmare," "unjust and unfair," "traumatizing for us and our children."

There is nothing good to say about litigation:

Cost - When litigated, the average divorce costs $60,000 per couple with many easily exceeding $100,000.
Time - It can take a year or more for your divorce to be finalized from the day you initially consult with an attorney.
Relationships - Litigation is an adversarial process which leads to the destruction of relationships. The court process often destroys any good will between the parties and leaves children feeling as though they are caught in the middle.
Control - In a litigated divorce, your life is in the hands of attorneys and the Court.

Collaborative Divorce

In a collaborative divorce, both parties retain an attorney who has been trained in collaborative law to negotiate the terms of the divorce outside of the courtroom. All negotiations take place with both parties and their attorneys present.

Collaborative divorce is not necessarily what it appears to be:

  1. Cost - the average collaborative divorce costs $40,000 per couple which is still thousands of dollars more than you need to spend.
  2. Time - It can take a year or more for your divorce to be finalized from the day you initially consult with an attorney.
  3. Relationships - Each party still retains their own attorney which replicates the adversarial environment found in litigation.
  4. Control - With attorney-advocates, the parties own control remains limited and decisions remain in the hands of attorneys.

Divorce Mediation

Mediation is the least expensive, time efficient and most dignified means to divorce. Divorce in and of itself is a very difficult and challenging time for families. Mediation affords couples the opportunity to maintain control over decisions so they can get through the divorce without losing themselves to the process.

Mediation is the most preferable option:

  1. Cost - The average mediation costs $1,500 to $4,000 per couple for the entire process and there are no retainers.  Think about what you could do with the tremendous amount of money you would save.
  2. Time - A mediated divorce is usually finalized within weeks from your initial consultation. For most, the process averages one to three months. Think about what you could do with the extra time when you're trying to move on with your life.
  3. Relationships - Mediation is a collaborative process between the couple and a neutral third-party mediator. The couples relationships with each other, children and other family members benefit from this non-adversarial approach.
  4. Control - Mediation is a self-determined process in which the couple, with the assistance and guidance of a mediator, makes all the decisions. The decisions that are made during the dissolution of a marriage or union usually impact both parties and their children for years to come. Think about who you want to make such significant and personal decisions about your life.
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