You will save money.
Statistics vary, but on average, a contested divorce can cost anywhere from $15,000 – $60,000. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a ton of money to me. This is in contrast to mediation, which can range on average from $1,000 – $5,000. While that still is a lot of money, it pales in comparison to what you would be forking over for a divorce that goes to court.
Mediation can take considerably less time.
Mediation can be completed in one session that is several hours long, or it can be completed over several shorter sessions. Regardless, it is typically finished within a matter of hours. Compare that to a divorce involving court and litigation, which can take weeks, months, or even years. That is a long time to be spending in conflict with another person, and unsure about what your future holds.
It is private and confidential.
Court proceedings become a matter of public record. I don’t know about you, but if it was my divorce, I would not be comfortable with the issues being discussed becoming available for anyone to read about. Mediation is a confidential and private process, and parties are asked to not share any information discussed outside of the session. The people present typically only consist of the two parties getting divorced, their attorneys if they have them, and the mediator.
You maintain control over the process.
When you are in court as a plaintiff or defendant, you do not get to decide when you can take a break, or finish for the day, or stop to get something to eat. You also do not get to choose if you would like to stop conducting court with everyone present and meet individually with the judge. Mediation is different–you have control over these things. In my mediation sessions, the participants are free to ask for a break at any time, whether it is to gather themselves emotionally, or to get something to eat or drink. They also can call a private meeting with the mediator (what is known as a caucus) at any time if they no longer want to be in a meeting with the entire group.
You have complete control over the outcome.
In court, the final decisions are made by the judge, and the parties are ordered to obey the rulings that she or he has made. You have had a chance to tell your side of the story, but at the end of the day, you are losing control over the final outcome of the case. In contrast, with mediation, at no point are you forced to agree to anything that you do not want to do. You have complete control the entire time over whether you settle any of the agreements.
It is better for your children
Lastly, mediation has been shown to have a more positive impact on parents’ relationships with their children, particularly for the parent who does not have primary custody of the child. Even twelve years after the mediation session was over, the non-custodial parent had significantly more contact with the child and had remained significantly more involved in the child’s life if the divorcing couple had used mediation as opposed to going through the court.