Our customers at Liaise tell us that we that our service is fantastic, but they also say that many of their friends don’t even know what mediation is. “You guys should do a simple “10 Reason to Mediate Your Divorce” list so I can explain it to my friends”, we are told.
So OK, here is a try, but it turns out that the hard part is picking only 10 reasons.
1. Never Go To Court.
It seems that many people have a fear of going to Court that is closely related to a fear of public speaking. Being before a Judge is not like being before a firing squad, but you would never know that from the way many people feel about the prospect.
With mediation you agree on the disposition of your dissolution and the entire matter is handled on paper, through the mail, and no Court appearance is necessary.
2. Control Over Decisions.
In case you haven’t heard, the State of California is in a financial meltdown. This means that the resources available to the Superior Court of California Family Law Bench are increasingly sparse. Therefore the time that Judges, Commissioners, Clerks, Family Court Services, Court Mediation Services and any other State funded group, will be stretched thinner and thinner. Add to this mix the ever increasing number of “self-represented” litigants and pretty soon the experience of litigating your divorce will more resemble a trip to the DMV than the venerable and profound hearings that were experienced in the past. Really, given the cutbacks and furloughs going on now, how much time do you think a harried Judge has to contemplate and ruminate over your case? Besides who is better positioned to diagram the future of your family, you or some state employee?
Much better to spend all the time you need working with your spouse and a Liaise® trained professional to carefully craft and shape the future direction of your family. Take control, act like a grown up and plan for the future.
3. Less Stress.
Suing your spouse to end your marriage has always struck me as absurd. Summons, Petition Response, Order to Show Cause, Motions, Interrogatories, Depositions. Give me a break! The participants were married to each other for crying out loud. Even if there are now irreconcilable differences, it doesn’t mean that they cannot engage in a civilized discourse and provide for the orderly division of property and agree upon necessary and adequate child or spousal support within the framework of the law. Having been a trial lawyer for over 20 years I can tell you that litigation is crippling in the stress it creates.
Mediation, as compared to litigation, is a walk in the park. Liaise® mediators insist upon respectful, non-threatening communication and the process is tolerant, enlightened, and downright refined as contrasted with traditional lawsuits.
4. Neutral Perspective.
A Liaise® mediator is strictly in the middle. She is not on one side or the other. She is the advocate of neither party; she is the Devils’ advocate. She asks the tough questions and steadily moving the process towards understanding and settlement.
On the other hand a lawyer, unless providing your service through a Legal Aid or Non Profit Center, has a profit motive. This is not an indictment, it is simply a fact. If you ask a barber how you look, he’ll say you need a haircut. If you ask a lawyer what you need to do, she’ll say you need to sue. Please don’t get me wrong there are many excellent, honest and dedicated members of the family law bar and it has been my privilege to know quite a few of them. But every one of those straight talking righteous lawyers can tell you horror stories about other lawyers. Even if you hire the most virtuous lawyer you can find, the other side might hook up with a barracuda and your legal fees will be astounding. Better to engage a single professional neutral and work it all out without paying a couple of lawyers to fight.
5. Most Cases Settle.
Did you know that in California, most lawsuits settle? There is some uncertainty as to the actual statistics, but the number generally given is near 90%. Almost no cases go all the way to a trial.
Why go through the expense and heartache of setting yourself into a “litigation” mentality if the probability of settlement is overwhelming? So much smarter to begin preparation, mental and tactical, for settlement from the onset of your dispute and skip the unnecessary umbrage.
6. More Enduring Agreements.
When people have a “solution” imposed upon them by an outside agency, it is simply human nature to immediately begin scheming to thwart that imposition. Sure, a litigated divorce may specify a court ordered child pick-up and delivery schedule, but life means changes. What sounded just right in May no longer works in December. So much better to work with your spouse and develop the tools you need to deal with the changes that inevitably occur. What is more, the reluctant cooperation and “unintentional” foot dragging that often comes with imposed conditions is a formula for ongoing strife, friction and misery – even if it never rises to a level that justifies having the Court act to try and remedy the obstreperous conduct.
People who work together to create plans that they voluntarily agree upon are vested in those plans. There is a much higher likelihood that those people will abide by their agreement and have less conflict in the future.
7. Lower Cost.
In June of 2008 the Wall Street Journal reported that the average cost of a litigated divorce is $78,000 and the average cost of a mediated divorce is less than $7,000. Factoring in all the other benefits of mediation, it is incredible that anyone would choose to litigate over mediation. If you have children and are contemplating divorce you can choose litigation, or you can choose a more comfortable and affordable retirement.
8. Ability to Cope with Future Issues.
One of the foremost benefits that the parties to mediation achieve is the communication skills necessary to effectively achieve agreement with their spouse. This may sound simple and not that meaningful an achievement, but the process of learning how to “get to yes” is just like any other talent. The way it develops is through 3 key elements. Practice, practice, practice. Once the parties to a divorce have been through the process, have spent the time reasoning with one another, they oftentimes find that there is a carry-over and they can more easily deal with other issues as they present during their ongoing relationship. People often tell us that they have never before experienced this sort of give and take with their partner. It is a great set of skills to cultivate.
All of the reasons set forth above make it abundantly clear that mediation is the easy way. No Court. More control. Less stress. Lower costs. It is a decision that is commonly referred to as a “no brainer”.
How could the decision to mediate be easier and at the same time harder?
The answer is simple. If you merely want to be a passenger and have the issues of where you are going, the route you’re going to take, the speed you’re going to travel, the rest stops and how long and hard you’re going to drive decided by someone else, maybe mediation isn’t for you. But if you have the courage and smarts to make your own decisions on how you are going to live your life, you are a good candidate for mediation and should take the first step and contact Liaise Divorce Solutions to get the process going.