As a divorce attorney, I represent spouses through divorce disputes regularly. The process quickly became predictable despite each case having its own flair for drama. For someone with a “get it done” attitude, the traditional divorce process is agonizing. Generally, a divorce case spans out over the course of a year; voluminous stacks of financial statements are analyzed, additional documents are requested, values determined, or custody related evaluations performed. Disputes during the discovery or evaluation stages usually arise to amp up the legal bill.
The issue with divorce litigation today
Divorce attorneys draft settlement offers and counter-offers and counter-offers to counter-offers, seemingly close to a deal, yet no finality in sight. Even when agreements are reached, small details cause more delays. This is just an average scenario. It could be much worse. Each spouse can expect to pay $8,000-$15,000 in attorney fees, at a minimum.
Despite the legal circus, contested divorces are finalized. It’s how you get there that matters. Plenty of cases cannot avoid trial, which can easily tack an additional $10,000-$20,000 in attorney fees. As a divorce attorney, I should not complain. As a person genuinely invested in my client’s experience, I was frustrated.
It is common knowledge that divorce crosses many spectrums of ugly. Few are lucky to escape it and proceed amicably. The truth is that most mind numbing, heart wrenching, bank draining divorces don’t have to be that way. As someone looking in, the practical solutions were obvious but out of reach. Participating in the traditional, often ineffective litigation process caused by burdening and outdated practices, contentious communications, procedural delays, overburdened dockets, and rigorously high legal fees leading to client dissatisfaction was just how the wheel spun. In my opinion, there had to a better way. It occurred to me that the most productive aspect of a case happened during the mediation stage.
A more practical alternative
Exit boxing ring, enter sandbox. Divorce mediation is conducted in a comfortable setting with the divorcing parties and a neutral third party, the mediator. The divorcing spouses can participate with or without attorneys. Either party can obtain legal advice before mediation or before signing any final and binding agreements. Mediation invites the parties to work together instead of pitting them against one another. Divorce mediation encourages parties to recognize the practical effects of negotiations versus divorce trial. The mediation setting necessitates the parties to explore real options that fit their situation. Because the parties are invested in the deal with the invaluable guidance of an experienced divorce mediator, they have the freedom to negotiate freely and in real time. Saving time and cost is another important benefit. Divorce mediation costs significantly less and is vastly accelerated compared to the traditional process.
The divorcing spouses make a far better investment by choosing mediation over litigation. Divorce clients who end up in the courtroom have heard similar sentiments from a family law judge. Family law judges strongly encourage parties to reach agreements independently, without resorting to trial. Trials are risky. Neither party should expect to win the sympathy of the judge. A divorce trial should not be favored until a comprehensive legal and cost analysis has been performed. While mediation requires a willingness to deal with the divorcing spouse at arm’s length, the divorce process only tends to get more expensive with the amount of disputes and should be reserved for high stake issues. Financial and practical considerations as well as the freedom to retain control of your own future implore the parties to negotiate an exit plan.
Divorce is not easy or without frustration, regardless of the process. But, the divorce process can be practical and financially affordable for divorcing couples and families. Practically Divorced, LLC is a Divorce Mediation Firm in Scottsdale, Arizona formed to provide practical, reasonably priced divorce services that produce results.
To learn more about the divorce process, please visit practicallydivorced.com, call us at (480) 977-6873 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Your Practically Divorced Mediator
Practically Divorced, LLC
Practically Divorced, LLC is not a law firm and nothing contained in this article should substitute legal advice. Mediation is not appropriate for every case, particularly cases involving significant domestic violence. Each case should be evaluated on an individual basis. Consulting with an attorney is always encouraged to understand your individual rights under the law.