Today’s post comes from Joe Dillon, founder of Equitable Mediation Solutions. I’m a big fan of the model that Joe’s company provides to their clients and I hope to see more of these healthy divorce options in the future. Here’s Joe with some education about divorce mediation…
When I was a kid I didn’t very much like amusement parks. While the brightly colored lights and the spinning machines looked nice, the thought of being buckled into some ride that I had no control over was not appealing to me in the least.
I was quite content to sit there, eat my cotton candy and watch while my family and friends screamed their brains out on The Runaway Train or Lightning Loops. “Why would anyone want to subject themselves to such torture?” I’d wonder. “The lack of control? That’s no fun!”
It’s All About Choice
Flash forward a few decades later and while my disposition has lightened considerably, I think back to my amusement park days, given my adult profession of divorce mediator. If there’s one thing that makes people feel out of control more than a rollercoaster, it’s going through a divorce.
But like my 8-year old self who chose to eat cotton candy on the sidelines instead of getting flipped upside down on the Coaster of Doom, you too have a choice when it comes to getting a divorce. And that choice is to mediate. How is mediating different than hiring lawyers to fight it out you ask?
The Story of My Life (And Hopefully Not Yours)
Back when my parents got a divorce in 1983, the only choice you had was to hire a lawyer and go to court. There were no mediators back then and you certainly didn’t have a say in how the proceedings went. Instead you went to your lawyer’s office, wrote them a check for their retainer, told them your story and off to work they went.
When it was all said and done, my parents had spent the better part of three years litigating and spending every last cent they seemed to have on this divorce. And guess what? Neither of them was happy with the outcome since it seemed neither of them got they wanted. The judge did most of the talking and deciding while my parents either just sat there quietly fuming or shouting at the judge.
Mediation: The Smarter Way to Divorce
Thankfully, those days are long gone, and if you are a couple faced today with the difficult decision to divorce, you now have a choice. And that choice is mediation.
Instead of two attorneys on opposite sides fighting for “their side,” there’s one neutral third-party mediator who doesn’t take sides and is interested in helping you both come to agreement.
Instead of paperwork flying back and forth, you, your spouse and your mediator will review everything together so there’s no confusion if something’s unclear or is missing.
Instead of arguing in public, we have conversations in private. Unlike using lawyers and going to court, mediation sessions are confidential. No one will know the terms of your divorce except the two of you and your mediator.
Instead of being told what to do by a lawyer or judge, you both get a say in what your agreement and future looks like. Neither spouse can force the other to agree to something they’re not comfortable with and an agreement is only finalized when you both say it is.
The Many Benefits of Mediation
It might seem unusual to refer to something related to divorce to be “better” for you. But as opposed to the alternative or working with attorneys, it certainly is. The benefits of mediation include:
- A 98% success rate – Nearly all clients who begin mediation are able to come to an agreement they both find fair and equitable.
- Significant cost savings – Couples who mediate save on average $25,000 as compared to a standard attorney driven divorce which averages $30,000. And if that standard divorce was not so standard and they wound up in court, those savings would increase to $200,000 as a litigated divorce will literally bankrupt you.
- A more efficient process – Mediation can take as little as two to three months instead of two to three years like a litigated divorce.
- Better adherence to terms – Couples who mediate are 70% more likely to adhere to any support orders agreed to in mediation as opposed to those forced upon them by a judge.
Divorce Is Difficult but It Doesn’t Have To Be a Disaster
Mediation is a more peaceful, efficient and less costly way to end a marriage that results in a more favorable settlement for all parties involved, especially your children.
So whether you’re the initiator of the divorce, or the individual on the receiving end of the decision, you have a choice in how you proceed. Don’t litigate and let your divorce become a disaster. Choose to take control of your divorce and mediate.
Equitable Mediation Services’ Founder & Managing Partner Joe Dillon oversees the firm’s practice areas of divorce mediation and divorce financial analysis and works personally with clients in Illinois, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. To learn more about Equitable Mediation and the services they offer please visit http://www.equitablemediation.com/ or call (877) 732 6682 today.