The cost of divorce, including attorney fees, court costs and expert witnesses, continues to rise. In the U.S., people opting out of marriage spend billions a year on divorce, and yet these couples average under $20,000 in net assets. It is no wonder, then, that more people are considering divorce mediation.
Affordability is not the only attraction that people see in the mediation process, however. If you and your spouse are considering this as an alternative to traditional divorce, you will find that there are other aspects of the process that will provide you with savings.
Why divorces are often bitter
The cost of working out a divorce settlement that probably will not last, along with the inevitable emotional trauma, are the main reasons that divorce proceedings leave a bitter taste in the mouth for both parties. Couples spend thousands of dollars gathering and producing bank accounts, medical plans, insurance documentation, payroll verification and other backup items as evidence of what each party has and has not. Anger and accusations are commonplace, and the costs for a contested divorce may run as high as $70,000.
Do not come loaded down
With mediation, you will not have to produce a stack of documents. Normally, you and your spouse will only have to provide minimum backup, such as payroll stubs, payroll deduction information and medical plans. Your mediator will tell you what to bring in.
Working out a settlement
This is where you will realize the greatest savings. You will not need to have two lawyers to work out your settlement details. With guidance from a neutral mediator, you and your soon-to-be ex will be able to work out your own agreement. Since you are in direct communication with each other, you will not only save your sanity to a considerable extent but also much of the money you would have spent in going through a traditional divorce.
Going for civility
Because mediation allows both of you to participate in decision making, you have control and are more likely to follow the terms you establish in the settlement, and your agreement has a greater chance of enduring. A mediation by-product is civility. Feelings of hate and anger are much lower in the mediation process, and as a divorcing couple, you will be able to maintain a civilized relationship.