Ending a marriage is a difficult process, and every divorce case unfolds in unique ways. If you and your spouse decide to divorce and plan to handle the divorce process in the traditional method, litigation, expect substantial legal fees and many months before you have your divorce decree in hand. Litigated divorce cases play out very similarly to most other civil cases; both parties retain legal counsel, appear in court, and have the opportunity to present evidence and offer testimony. The cost of divorce litigation is notoriously high, which is why many divorcing couples in Springfield, MO and throughout the US are choosing alternative dispute resolution instead.
Divorce mediation offers several significant benefits over typical divorce litigation. If you are unsure of the best way to handle your impending divorce, it is vital to know what divorce mediation can offer in your situation and what to expect from the process. While not as intense as divorce litigation, mediation can still be a complex and stressful process unless you have the right Springfield, MO divorce lawyer on your side. Choose an experienced attorney who can help you understand the benefits that divorce mediation can provide in your situation.
Save Time and Money
Perhaps the most practical benefits that divorce mediation can offer are savings of time and money for both parties. Divorce litigation can easily take several months up to a year or longer, even in seemingly straightforward cases. By comparison, it’s possible for a divorcing couple to complete their divorce mediation process in a matter of weeks. When you consider the cost of legal fees, since most attorneys bill their clients by the hour, both spouses can potentially spend a fraction of what they could expect to spend on litigation when they choose mediation.
Divorce is stressful, and the longer the process continues, the more deeply it will affect the divorcing spouses. Even if a divorcing couple is relatively amicable at the outset of the divorce process, the longer the process continues, the more likely it will be to feel the stress of the situation more acutely. This can lead to emotionally tense negotiations and flareups that do not benefit either of them. If you want to streamline your divorce as much as possible and save money while you do it, divorce mediation is the best option for handling your divorce.
Greater Control Over the Outcome
When you litigate your divorce in family court, the judge has the final say on every aspect of your divorce order. This means that even if you believe you have made a strong case to secure the divorce terms you want, there is never a guarantee that the judge overseeing your divorce will see things the same way. You ultimately have no control over the outcome of your divorce when you litigate.
By comparison, divorce mediation offers divorcing spouses much more influence over the outcome of their divorce. As long as their mediated divorce agreement aligns with state laws, the divorcing spouses can essentially personalize most elements of the divorce order, reaching a more acceptable outcome than any family court judge could have delivered.
Keep Your Divorce Private
It’s important to remember that everything said during court proceedings is recorded and entered into the public record whenever you participate in active court litigation. Anyone can look up court proceeding transcripts with relative ease and read everything said during a trial. The same applies to divorce cases. If you and your spouse take your divorce to family court and litigate, everything said and discussed during your court proceedings will become public record.
Divorce mediation, on the other hand, is entirely private. Your negotiations with your chosen mediator remain confidential. Your mediator’s job is to facilitate a negotiation between you and your spouse, helping the two of you reach a mutually agreeable divorce order. Once complete, your mediator will draft your divorce order and submit it to the family court for a judge’s final review and approval. Your divorce itself will become public record, but all of your negotiations during mediation are not included in the publicly accessible record of your divorce.
Reduce the Chances of Post-Divorce Conflicts
When you finalize your divorce, this does not necessarily mean the issue is entirely closed forever. It’s possible (and likely, in many cases) that the divorced spouses will need to return to family court in the future to address aspects of their divorce order that they believe to be one-sided or unfair. It’s also possible to revisit a divorce decree to modify it in light of recent life events that render an existing divorce decree untenable. When a divorcing couple litigates their divorce and a judge rules on the relevant issues their divorce contains, there is a greater chance for these issues to arise. On the other hand, mediation provides a divorcing couple the chance to secure a more personalized outcome that will serve their interests longer and more wholly.
When you have the ability to reach a more personalized result with your divorce, there is inherently a lesser chance that you will need to return to divorce court later to have your divorce decree modified. There is also a much smaller chance for disputes to arise. When a divorcing couple litigates, one of the spouses may feel that the result is unfair or unbalanced. This can not only lead to additional court proceedings but also resentment to build between the divorced spouses. When both spouses have equal influence over a divorce decree in the low-pressure atmosphere that mediation provides, there is less chance of these resentments building, and both spouses are more likely to find their divorce decree suitable for the long term.
Choose Reliable Legal Representation
If you believe that divorce mediation is an option for you and your spouse and can provide a more streamlined result in your divorce case, you will still need to secure legal counsel as you begin this process. The right attorney can guide you through the mediation process, answer your questions, and ultimately help you reach the results you seek in your divorce. Reach out to an experienced Springfield, MO divorce attorney as soon as possible to learn more about divorce mediation and the many benefits it can potentially offer to you.