A marital dissolution is one to the most important and difficult decisions that can be made in today's society.  Few things in one's life will have a more lasting impact.  If and when it becomes apparent that a dissolution is unavoidable, consider the following facts in determining how to proceed.  For more information, see the Paralegal & Financial Network, and Mediation Services.

If You Litigate If You mediate
Your combined attorney's fees will be approximately $30,000 or more. You pay for discovery, delays, trials, countless phone conversations between the attorneys. Your combined mediation fees, review by consulting attorney, and paperwork preparation may be less than $5000.
The outcome will be decided by a judge or commissioner. The outcome will be determined by you and your spouse.
Your attorney will negotiate property and custody issues for you. You will be advised not to communicate directly with your spouse. With the help of a neutral mediator, you will problem solve property and custody issues to design an agreement that works for you and your family.
All the filed declarations where you and your spouse make accusations against each other to gain advantage are public records available to anyone to view, even years later by your children and grand children. There are no filed declarations making accusations against each other. You maintain your good reputation. Mediation is a confidential process where decisions are made in a private conference room.
If custody is contested, the court will probably appoint a lawyer for your children and the lawyer will probably insist upon invasive psychological evaluations of the family. The two of you will determine what's in the best interests of your children.
The Court will determine when you have custody of your children. You can try out various parenting plans to see if they work. You can modify the plans as your children get older without returning to Court.
The Division of Property will be based on:
  • How aggressive your lawyer is compared to the other lawyers
  • The mood the judge is in
  • Prescribed court schedules
  • Whether you or your spouse has more stamina for battle.
Mediators help you negotiate a fair settlement.
Your divorce will follow the timetable determined by the needs of attorneys and the court. You decide how fast or slow you want the process to proceed.
You and/or your spouse may not feel committed to the results be-cause of a lack of participation in the process, bitterness fostered during the proceedings, or lack of fairness in the result. Child support, spousal support and parenting plans are more likely to be maintained when mutually decided.
Even the most poised, self assured individuals can find themselves one of the walking wounded after experiencing a day of the antagonistic debilitating and emotionally draining experience of watching your spouse and yourself being torn to shreds in court. You will maintain your dignity. You will experience the challenge of working with your spouse to make the best of a bad situation. If you can't save the marriage, at least, save the divorce.

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