MEDIATION MAKES YOU A DIRECT PART OF YOUR FAMILY LAW SOLUTION

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Savings on emotional and financial costs are not the only reasons to mediate rather than litigate your family law matters, or any legal matter, for that matter. Some people mediate their family law cases so they can have a direct hand in exactly what the terms of their settlement will be. They can agree to the terms they are forced to live by. That’s because the agreement will be negotiated by and between the parties themselves, with legal understanding and helpful cajoling provided by their mediating attorney, as they reach a mediated family law settlement agreement, rather than fighting it out in court.

If you do choose to litigate your child custody, spousal support, or community property division issues in court you could become soundly disappointed with the legal results. A litigant loses control of the outcome of his or her case when it goes to court, where your heart and pocket book can be broken for any number of reasons.

First of all, in court someone else is deciding your case for you, and he or she is called the Judge. Secondly, the law may not be on your side of your family law issues to start with. And you may have to learn the expensive way why you can’t just get up and move out of state with your children if dad/mom on the other side doesn’t want you to.

Or maybe you’re not able to prove up to the court your ownership interest in certain alleged community assets. Or the child custody and visitation mediator doesn’t deem you the best custodial parent of your child in this particular legal arrangement, and the judge follows the mediator’s recommendation against granting you custody of your children.

The point is that you don’t control the outcome to your family law dispute when you litigate in court. The judge takes over that duty for you, aided by input in the form of motions and pleadings filed by your attorneys, and the opinions of family law and financial experts. The judge decides your fate and the fate of your family for every issue that you put before him or her. It’s all a very expensive proposition.

When you litigate, the Family Law Judge is the only person in the universe to decide whether your children live with your soon-to-be-former-spouse or you; whether you get to stay or whether you have to move out of your family residence; whether you or the other party gets half of whose pension, or not. These are the risks involved with litigating your case in court.

That’s why some parties mediate their legal issues with an experienced family law specialist. If they can understand the law as it truly applies to them, and if they can agree to work together, in many instances like they never have before, and if they can understand how to communicate with one another, to rationally discuss the important issues of their family’s present day-to-day realities, and then be willing to compromise on some if not all of those issues, then those who were once adversaries can now become a winning team. Your family can thrive.

Honest communication and ultimate agreement between otherwise disagreeing spouses is critical to successfully mediating family law matters. If you cannot communicate with your spouse and ultimately come to agreement about issues that you haven’t previously been able to agree upon, then you may have to litigate your case, which turns into great emotional and financial expense for everyone involved. It wears on parents and children alike.

But if the parties do communicate productively, and the two sides can sit down with a seasoned family law specialist to mediate your differences about custody, visitation, property division and the like, into a fair settlement, that you will personally help to create, a settlement that’s truly in yours and your children’s best interests, then you will be able to save yourself a lot of money and negative emotion.

You will be able to breathe easier and move forward in your life, rather than fight and stress-out with your ex. Your children will have a better chance to prosper and move forward with their lives along with you, just as you planned it. That’s because you and your spouse communicated well enough to hammer out the specific terms of your family’s future with a mediated family law settlement agreement, and you didn’t leave it up to the family law court to decide your family’s fate for you.

 

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THE COST OF MEDIATING VERSUS LITIGATING

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Mediation is on the rise in resolving family law related and divorce issues simply because most people can no longer afford the good fight in family law court. The economy is spiraling downward and the United States dollar is losing its purchasing power at about ten percent per annum. Divorces can be expensive when two parties refuse to communicate in a rational and civil manner and they want to let their lawyers do their talking for them.

When you decide to hire a lawyer to litigate your family law case, Discovery will be conducted by your two attorneys. Subpoenas will be issued and hearings will be scheduled. In the end, attorneys’ fees will multiply. The litigation process can easily run into the tens of thousands of dollars and if two parties have enough to fight for, then six figures in attorneys fees is not unheard of.

The difference in the costs associated with mediating a family law settlement yourself through mediation versus litigating family law matters with hired professionals can be dramatic. Of course the complexities of each particular family law matter will dictate much toward the legal work that needs to be performed, but mediating a family law matter, or most legal matters for that matter, could be resolved for less than half the cost of a litigated case.

The costs generally associated with mediation include, but are not limited to, both parties meeting together, not individually, for consultation with a mediating attorney, and then the follow up meetings with that attorney in an effort to resolve the issues in dispute. When a settlement is reached the mediating attorney will prepare a settlement agreement negotiated by you. The preparation of additional associated documents will be required, such as a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or Legal Separation, Disclosure Documents, and specific Waivers.

The cost of litigating your family law matter would certainly be much more time, emotion, and cost consuming. In the litigation model, the preparation of financial documents and mandatory disclosure compliance can run several thousand dollars. Your attorney will need to draft motions and sometimes fight to get the other side to pay your attorneys’ fee. Experts may have to be hired.

Then there’s the cost for the time to actually go into court for appearances and hearings. If required, co-parenting classes and/or the preparation of a parenting plan can add thousands to your final legal bills. A trial could cost $10,000 and upwards, an appeal another $15,000. Many people choose to mediate their family law issues because of the savings both monetary and emotional, and the fact they can play a direct part in forming their family law solution.