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Mediation: Taking angst, anger and expense out of divorce

The cost of divorce pertains to more than dollars and cents. Many divorces are contentious, and the parting couples often experience bitterness toward each other and uncertainty about the future.

Mediation is an alternative to traditional divorce, one that eliminates much of the hostility, anxiety and expense.

The cost savings

The cost of divorce continues to rise. If the parties cannot reach agreement on certain points, the process can drag out. The more it drags out, the more contentious and stressful it is likely to become. It is not uncommon for a traditional divorce to cost tens of thousands of dollars in a courtroom battle that is hard on everyone. Mediation does not require the expense of hiring two attorneys: The divorcing couple only meets with the mediator. Also, mediation is a faster path to divorce than litigation. The savings in time translates to a savings in money for both parties.

Working out the settlement

In mediation, the divorcing spouses work directly with each other to fashion a settlement agreement that is satisfactory to both. A trained mediator guides the process, helping the couple to resolve problems before they can obstruct the path to an agreement. The mediator also monitors emotions closely and does not allow anger to get a foothold in the decision-making process.

Looking ahead

Mediation is a viable option for anyone facing divorce to consider. However, it is often favored by couples who have been married for decades because they have a connection that even divorce cannot totally break. Their marriage was a team effort in many respects, and that is the way they prefer to handle their divorce. Mediation is a respectful, cooperative way to end the union and begin anew. In addition to being a less expensive, less anxiety-filled alternative to traditional divorce, mediation also proves to be less stressful for children. A civil ending to the marriage paves the way for a civil family relationship to continue, albeit in a different format.

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