How Is Divorce Mediation Different from Going to Court?

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Parents and spouses are increasingly choosing to look into forms of alternative dispute resolution such as mediation. One of the primary reasons for this has to do with the perception or the actual experience of people going through divorce court. It takes a lot of work to prepare for any divorce, but the entire process can feel fraught with tension and conflict from day one when going through litigation.

Even if this is your first divorce, you may understand from friends the costs and frustrations associated with going through traditional litigation. Studies find that mediation may keep most parents out of court after divorce and promote better outcomes regarding parenting.

Divorce litigation is adversarial, in which attorneys for each side, or the individuals representing themselves, will argue as strongly as they can for their own interests. This often results in more negative communications, bad feelings and interactions between people, and this is especially problematic when there are children involved.

Complex discovery procedures apply in divorce proceedings including interrogatories, (written, detailed questions asked by the opposing party that must be answered under oath), depositions (formal questioning in person), financial statements, and documents that may go back three years or more, depending on the case. There could also be subpoenas served on organizations, companies, or individuals who may have to share information about the opposing party.

Discovery expenses along with multiple court appearances – including preparation by attorneys – adds significant legal fees to a court-based divorce. Eventually, almost all court-based cases will settle before a trial; but it can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars or more to get to that point. Even when parties do not agree on everything, so long as parties are willing to negotiate – just like what would happen in a court setting – a skilled mediator can help people resolve their divorce or other family law issues while saving a lot of money and promoting better outcomes for families.

Mediation is substantially different from divorce litigation. It encourages parties to work together to arrive at a mutually beneficial agreement. This agreement may be far more flexible and customized to the family’s needs and may also reduce costs and allow both parties to move on with their life sooner rather than later.

Reach out for assistance with starting Massachusetts divorce mediation now.