One of the most compelling arguments for choosing divorce mediation over litigation is the financial benefits. Mediation simply costs less.
In litigation, each party hires an attorney to represent his or her interests in court. The attorney generally requires a retainer to get started, likely about $5,000 for each attorney. The retainer covers the cost of preparing your petition, filing that petition with the court, and serving the other party. The opponent will then file his or her response and serve the petitioner. And those are just initial costs.
On top of that, you’ll pay for filing of pleadings, preparing and responding to motions, discovery and depositions, delays, hearings and court appearances, and countless phone conversations between the attorneys, and with each attorney. And because the full cost of your divorce can’t be predicted upfront, it’s tough to plan ahead so you can meet your other obligations.
In mediation, you have one mediator who helps you negotiate an agreement directly with your spouse. Mediation typically requires from four to 10 sessions, depending on the complexity of the case. The average cost of divorce mediation is about $5,500.
What’s more, in order to encourage couples to mediate their cases, the court waives the Respondent’s having to file a response and the associated filing fee for that response.
Divorce360.com estimates it could cost anywhere from $53,000 $188,000 to litigate a contested divorce, per side. And in the state of California, it could be a lot higher. Listen to the details provided in this short video clip.
Other indirect costs include leaving work to attend depositions, hearings or meetings with your attorney or potential child-care costs when you attend these sessions. And because the stress of going through a divorce can affect your physical health, you may find yourself with additional medical expenses.
The longer it takes to finish a divorce, the higher your costs will be. Compared with mediation, which typically takes two to four months, a litigated divorce generally takes from nine months to two years – and sometimes longer. If you are lucky, your attorneys will work together to reach a settlement. If your attorneys take an adversarial approach, the divorce will take longer and costs are likely to be excessive.
Even when a divorce is finished, that isn’t necessarily the last of the legal proceedings. You may have to return to court if one spouse doesn’t comply with the judgment. However, this is less likely when you’ve reached agreement through a mediation process. Such judgments have a significantly higher rate of compliance without further legal proceedings because the Agreements reached have been custom tailored for that particular couple.
In the final analysis, the more money you spend on attorneys, the less money you have to divide between what are now two separate households.
Financial advantages are only one benefit of mediation. To learn about additional benefits – and determine whether mediation is appropriate for you, you can download a copy of our complimentary report “Consider Divorce Mediation, Not Litigation.” You can get your copy here.
Leading the industry through his innovative approach, Dino Katsiametis has over 17 years of extensive experience within mortgage, banking and real estate industries. His passion for the collective financial and investment services sector combined with his distinct insight, has catapulted Money Matters with Dino onto the forefront of financial news.
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