At Divorce Mediation Professionals, we continuously advise clients of the benefits of mediation in divorce. More often than not, we hear, “ that sounds nice but”, “I don’t want to see the other side”, “the other side will not agree to mediation”, “the other side is a control freak and I won’t get a word in”, “my case is too difficult”, etc. There are so many excuses used to avoid mediation that oftentimes I refer to an interview by Los Angeles Times writer Jessica Gelt in 2008 of former supervising Judge Marjorie Steinberg who supervised 45 family law judges and commissioners in Los Angeles County:
Question: What’s the smoothest way to sail through a divorce?
Answer: There’s collaborative law where you pick one lawyer for the two of you.
Question: What does a typical divorce cost in Los Angeles?
Answer: It’s nothing for us to see $50,000 spent on each side and sometimes $1 million on each side. When I see someone with only $25,000 in attorney’s fees, I think that is pretty cheap. (Remember this was a 2008 article!!)
Collaborative law actually involves two attorneys working together in a positive approach, negative comments and idle threats are not tolerated. Collaborative law involves both parties focused on providing solutions and oftentimes brings in other experts such as tax preparers, financial planners, co-parenting counselors, etc.
A more common approach is mediation. Mediation involves hiring a neutral third-party to facilitate both sides in negotiating a solution. The Mediator does not represent either party as the attorneys do in collaborative law, but acts more as a Teacher, Referee, Negotiation Coach, and Idea Generator.
There are several reasons to consider mediation to resolve your case. First, you will directly participate in finding the solutions. Second, you will resolve your dispute sooner. Third, you will save money, end the process with a better relationship with your former spouse, and it will be less stressful than court.
Thus, if the head Los Angeles County Family Law Judge considers it “to your benefit” to try an alternate approach, don’t you think it would be wise to take the advice and give mediation a try?