Updated: Dec 6, 2021
Not every couple needs to go to court to divorce. In fact, for couples who tend to agree on most of the terms of their divorce mediation is often a good option. I am family law attorney Annette Baker. As a seasoned divorce attorney and principal of Baker Law, I have years of helping couples through mediation.
Many people erroneously think that they have to go to court to get divorced or to get what they feel is fair. The truth is that over 90% of divorce disputes today are resolved through mediation and settlement.
The Five Advantages of Meditation
For couples for whom mediation is a viable option, there are definite advantages. Mediation offers a neutral and nonjudgmental environment. Unlike court, what happens in mediation is private. There are no public records made of conversations in mediation. Mediation typically saves divorcing couples a considerable amount of money and time.
There are other advantages to mediation:
Mediation is an environment of less conflict because both parties are there to try and work things out.
Mediation often leads to improved relationships, because you are working together instead of against one another.
Because mediation is far less hostile, it offers a better process and outcome for the kids.
Holistic in nature, mediation is a more comprehensive approach to family decision-making and dissolution. The mediation process allows professionals such as accountants and therapists to work together.
The majority of couples who go through mediation report that they felt heard, that their point of view was taken into consideration and that they were able to express their feelings without argument.
Mediation is right for many, but not all couples. I have the experience to know when mediation is likely to work. As a seasoned litigator, I also understand that in some cases, particularly when there is a history of violence, anger or control issues, court is the best option.
When You Want To Stay Out Of The Courtroom
After years of helping couples find the best way to part ways, I find that two issues generally prevent couples from resolving issues outside of court:
An overly aggressive and cash-hungry attorney. There are attorneys who feel that going to court is better because it means a longer case and typically more billable hours. In my practice, I put the needs of the client first. If mediation is a viable option for you and your spouse and you are both open to the process, then this is the route we will take. Mediation can also mean that any part of your unused retainer will be returned to you.
Sticking points over child custody or property division. Sometimes couples have false notions of how hard their spouse will fight them on issues such as custody. Again, in my years of experience, I find that many times couples aren’t as far apart as they think.