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Litigated Divorce vs. Divorce Mediation: How are They Different?

justice

For many decades, litigation was the primary way for parties to resolve complex legal disputes, including complicated divorce proceedings. But, in recent decades, the costs associated with attorney fees skyrocketed and courtroom caseloads got larger and larger, problems that continue to afflict the legal system to this day. It was evident to many practicing attorneys that there needed to be some alternative to litigation that could help parties resolve their issues without court interference.

This thinking was the genesis of mediation. With mediation, a trained mediator can drive parties to their own outcomes, effectively putting the power back in the hands of the parties. It can also provide an affordable alternative to litigation, particularly in cases of divorce where there are just a few sticky issues for the parties to work out.

For those who are just now learning about the benefits of mediation in their divorce proceedings, here are a few key differences in the processes:

Costs

The average cost of divorce litigation can be in excess of $30,000 per party. Each party must pay costs associated with attorney fees, court fees, discovery processes and much more, costs that can accumulate very quickly. On the other hand, an entire mediation process can run under $5,000.

Privacy

When it comes to court documents, all of these are available as public records. The media or anyone else can dig these up with just a little bit of time and money. On the other hand, mediation is completely confidential and is not susceptible to being shared publicly on the Internet or elsewhere.

Fair

The legal system is designed to be fair, but often times, things fall through the cracks as Judges rely on standard procedures instead of addressing individual parties’ needs. For instance, a single missed deadline can cost someone an entire case. On the other hand, mediation acts in deference to the law, but at the end of the day focuses on fairness between the parties, even where those decisions don’t conform with the demands of the legal system.

There may be some cases where litigation is preferable, such as when parties can’t come to agreeable terms through mediation or the stakes of the outcome are extremely high. Still, most divorces can be more easily and amicably resolved through mediation sessions with a trained mediator.

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of mediation, contact the Reese-Beisbier team at 678-947-2988. With years of practice in family law and divorce mediation, we can help you.

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