Prior to mediation, over 90 percent of divorce litigants believe that the procedure will be a complete waste of time because they reason that if they could have talked through their problems, they would not be involved in marriage dissolution litigation. Yet over 70 percent of the litigants who voluntarily enter mediation resolve all outstanding issues in just a few hours.
The reason for this discrepancy may be that couples do not fully appreciate the ABCs of mediation until the session actually begins.
Typically, divorce mediation occurs only after discovery is entirely or substantially complete. By this time, especially because of the flurry of activity early in the case, the parties may have spent thousands of dollars in legal fees.
In 2016, civil litigants saved over $70 million in litigation expenses by taking advantage of mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution. While much of that savings is probably associated with large commercial cases, there is no doubt that divorce litigants who mediate their disputes save significant sums of money. The cases end earlier, and mediation requires much less preparation than a trial.
Many divorce trials take place in a tense, emotionally-charged atmosphere that makes wonderful theater for movies and TV, but is not always the best option for Arizona families. Additionally, trials are public records, in most cases, and many people may not want their “dirty laundry” hung out for everyone to see.
In mediation, the parties are only in the same room for the first few minutes, and after that, they retire to separate rooms and focus on settlement negotiations, so there is less emotion involved. Furthermore, mediation is private. The only record is the mediator’s report of the outcome and the final divorce or other family law decree.
Because the parties actively participate in the outcome instead of handing their fate over to a relative stranger, there is usually a higher voluntary compliance rate among mediated divorce settlements. That means fewer motions to enforce, fewer motions to modify, and lower legal bills in the years to come.
Furthermore, settling the underlying dispute is often an empowering experience which convinces the parties that they can also talk out the future disputes which almost inevitably will arise. This dynamic is especially a good thing if the spouses have young children that they must effectively co-parent.
Reach Out to an Experienced Attorney
Divorce mediation is not always successful, but it is almost always worth trying. For a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Tempe, contact the Law Office of Ronald L. Kossack. After hours appointments are available.