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Divorce Mediation is not well known. When most people think of divorce the first thought is going broke on lawyers, and sitting in court rooms.
Mediation has none of those features. Mediation is scheduled on your own time, in a private, confidential setting and generally costs $2,000 to $4,000 in total. Divorce mediation is an out-of-court solution to help couples settle their differences sensibly with minimal legal involvement. It is intended to be a non-confrontational atmosphere that encourages the spouses to put their best foot forward and present their thoughts and concerns to one another.
Mediation employs the use of a neutral and impartial third party (mediator) to help the couple reach a peaceful compromise that they can both find acceptable.
A traditional divorce litigation, on the other hand, can cost around $6,000 to $10,000 and the couple has very little control over court appearance dates or the final decision(s). This also takes an average of 1 – 2 years.
What is the biggest difference between Divorce Mediation and Traditional Divorce? Ultimately, what it comes down to is who is making the decisions that will impact the rest of your life. In mediation, it is you making the decisions.
In a traditional divorce, the judge will make the final ruling and both parties are stuck with the result. Your attorney is front and center navigating through the legal process to achieve your best interests.
Meditation, on the other hand, the couple works with 1 mediator. The mediator takes a back seat and the two parties talk openly and honestly about their goals and find an agreement that meets their wishes as closely as possible. The attorney helps guide the process until an ideal arrangement is found. The mediator represents BOTH parties and remains neutral to works towards an agreement. The best part is that you do not have to sign anything you are not satisfied with.
Mediators are not judges, or arbitrators and they cannot make decisions regarding who is going to win or lose. Their role is to guide the parties during their negotiations.
What happens when the two parties cannot come to an agreement? There are times when the two parties cannot come to a decision with one, neutral mediator. In these cases, rather than immediately moving to traditional divorce – you can utilize a hybrid model called Collaborative Divorce where each party would hire their own attorney much like a traditional divorce. Collaborative Divorce utilizes two (2) lawyers, plus outside professionals (financial experts, child custody specialists, therapists, etc.). All parties would negotiate and work towards an agreement all parties are willing to sign. The benefits are that this can happen outside the courtroom and both parties retain control of the agreement and final decisions.
Overall, divorce mediation and collaborative divorce are the preferred option for reasonable couples looking to resolve their differences. Divorce doesn’t have to be contentious and unhealthy.
Attorney Amy Saunders, Esq.
Divorce and Mediation Lawyer
Legal Solutions Law Group
858 Washington St Suite 103
Dedham, Massachusetts 02026