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Does divorce mediation also spare your pocketbook?

In our last post, we examined whether divorce mediation might spare a couple from additional emotional upset and heartache. Certainly, minimizing the emotional impact of a divorce can be of benefit and help an individual better transition into his or her post-divorce lifestyle. Mediation may also shield children from seeing further conflict among their parents. In fact, it sets a model for cooperation that children and parents alike can rely on in their future interactions, as with a visitation agreement.

Yet there is also a financial benefit to collaborative divorce approaches, including mediation. As a recent article reminds us, many couples underestimate how long the divorce process can take, especially when it is approached via litigation. The article contributor, perhaps with some hyperbole, claimed that his divorce had cost every penny he had because it was contentious, lasted over three years, and involved three states.

As the website for the Massachusetts Judicial Branch explains, there are some deadlines set by the court in a divorce proceeding, such as hearing being set after the requisite filings have been made. Yet in divorce mediation, much of the "middleman" work of the court is removed. As a non-adversarial process, divorce mediation relies on meetings with a neutral mediator to work out the specific terms of a divorce. The court does not have to be involved in those meetings until after a settlement proposal has been finalized, or if the process breaks down. That usually means that the process is both faster and less costly.

Of course, it can be hard to keep emotions completely out of the picture. An emotional argument may sometimes create the illusion of importance over an issue that really doesn't matter to the client. That's where the work of an attorney can be helpful. An attorney can provide a logical voice to the discussion, even in a mediation setting.

Source: Huffington Post, "10 Common Mistakes People Make In Divorce (And How To Avoid Them)," Brittany Wong, July 29, 2015

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