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By Val Hemminger; Family Law Lawyer, Divorce Coach and creator of The Better Divorce Project
Divorce mediation vs litigation does it matter? The truth is that the actual cost of court for families is more than you think. At The Better Divorce Project, we do not believe that families belong in court. Because the cost of divorce litigation is so great, and not only in terms of finances.
We want you to consider that divorce litigation is significantly more costly compared to divorce mediation, divorce arbitration, or mediation/arbitration.
If you are getting divorced, consider that divorce mediation as opposed to divorce litigation is the way to go. Litigation should only be used as an absolute last resort. Unfortunately, many families are unaware of the other options available to resolve family law matters without ever darkening a courtroom door. As we said, divorce litigation has far greater costs than just financial, and some of those costs will never be regained by you or your children. Before you head to court, consider the benefits of other methods to resolve your family matter including divorce mediation, arbitration, and collaborative law.
The financial cost is the most obvious when comparing divorce litigation vs mediation. Litigation is expensive, really expensive. If you hire a lawyer for your divorce, you will want to know you are choosing the best family divorce lawyer. Great lawyers keep their clients, whenever possible, out of litigation. From filing and serving fees to mandatory court appearances and the drawn-out court process, the increased retainer fee is just the beginning of the financial costs associated with litigation. The average case can very quickly go from costing thousands of dollars to tens of and even hundreds of thousands, especially when unexpected issues arise. Is this what you want for your changing family? We hope not! Keep more of your hard-earned resources for you, not your legal costs.
Ask anyone who has been through divorce litigation vs mediation and they will tell you that the stress and emotional strain alone was more intense than they ever would have thought. As soon as you bring litigation into the process when getting divorced, litigation vs mediation raises the stakes and the animosity of the situation. Not only are you dealing with the emotions surrounding the breakdown of a relationship and family, litigation now adds a judge to evaluate and scrutinize the most private and intimate aspects of your family in front of everyone in the courtroom. The emotional strain can be so intense that it is not uncommon for individuals to ask for prescribed medication to help them sleep or cope with the turmoil that court can bring.
Of all the costs that litigation vs mediation can bring to a family, is the impact on the children. Children are the ones who tend to suffer the most. Even when parents do not share with their children that they are in litigation, children are exposed to the stress and strain of their parents.
Sometimes, parents can get so caught up in the breakdown of their relationship and make sure they get what they feel they deserve that they don’t even realize the impact their litigation vs mediation has on their kids. When parents litigate, children are the true victims. Children also lose a lot of emotional attention from their parents when in litigation vs mediation. Parents are often so preoccupied and depleted from the stress of the situation that they have nothing left at the end of the day to give to their children.
When comparing divorce litigation vs mediation, another cost that often is not fully understood by families is the loss of control over the outcome of their situation. Litigation means you are putting a person (a judge) unknown to you, your family or your kids, and entirely outside of your situation, in control of what will ultimately happen with your family. You are handing the outcome to a stranger.
Although judges are highly trained in the law, have a high degree of emotional intelligence, and can uncover truth in evidence, a judge is still a human being. They have their own opinions and biases so what one judge may rule another may not. There is no such thing as a sure “win” when litigating. Ultimately, going to court makes the outcome of a family matter even more unpredictable, bringing far more stress to everyone.
Divorce litigation vs mediation affects all of your close relationships. It is not only the breakdown of a spousal relationship that is impacted when families go through court. Every relationship of the parties is affected in one way or another whether it be with the children, extended family, friends or new romantic interests. The strain divorce litigation vs mediation puts on a person can be so intense that relationships that generally feel healthy and bring happiness can quickly begin to suffer and bring added stress. It is difficult for anyone to watch someone they care about go through the stress of getting divorced, and often well-meaning friends and family who are trying to help can create even more turmoil when they get involved. There is a lot of misinformation out there. That is why we created the 10 Bogus Beliefs You Must Know if You are Going Through a Separation and Divorce. We don't want you to have added stress and confusion because of having the wrong information.
When comparing divorce litigation vs mediation, time is another huge factor. What can begin as simple letters going back and forth between lawyers trying to negotiate an agreement becomes stacks of court documents and dates booked months and even years in advance. The court process for a family matter can take as much as 2-3 years or even longer. What will you have lost in terms of much more enjoyable things you could be doing? Would your time and resources not be better spent on vacations and other activities that you may want to do with your family? Parties need to make themselves available for court and save finances for legal fees. Children are only young once so spending years in court may be a cost that is the game-changer in deciding how to proceed with your matter.
Good thing there is a better way to getting divorced! You don’t have to drag your family through a long legal battle in the court system to ensure you and your children are taken care of. At The Better Divorce Projecgt we show you that there really is a better way.
If you are going through a separation or divorce and are hoping to settle your matter amicably, here are some tips on avoiding court. If you are looking for assistance with your matter and are a resident of British Columbia, Canada, our law firm, called Pathway Legal can help. Here is some information on what our services look like.
Don’t hesitate. Contact us today to hear how we can help you!
Disclaimer: The content of this website is only intended to act as a general overview of a legal topic and is not legal advice. It is information-based only.
All of the information is prefaced by assuming you live in a “ community property ” and “ no fault ” state, province, country, or territory. This article is written by a Canadian lawyer and has a Canadian perspective. The separation and divorce laws in the United States, Europe, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and other countries are all different.
For legal advice as it pertains to your legal situation, please consult with a family law lawyer in your specific jurisdiction.