To mediate or not to mediate?
When you first file for divorce, emotions run really high. Many clients want to “take that bastard to court” without really going through the consequences of whether it makes sense to rush into court. There are many reasons when it makes absolute sense to go to court. However, what you don’t hear about are the reasons not to go to court.
After the parties cool-down from the initial shock to their emotional well-being, the predominate majority of clients use a Settlement Conference (Mediation) to settle their King County Divorce Case. Settlement conferences are essentially meditations ran by an agreed third party. The third party is usually someone that both attorneys know.
There are more advantages to mediation than what is listed here, but these are the predominate 7 advantages of mediation over court in a divorce in Seattle, WA:
The 7 advantages of mediation over court in a divorce:
1). Speed. Mediation is significantly faster than court. It can takes days to settle a case in mediation. It can take years to settle a case through the court system. I’ve seen some cases take over a decade.
2). Intrusiveness. Mediation doesn’t require you to bare all before a judge. When you go to court, your ex-wife will say some really horrible things about you in order to gain a strategic advantage in divorce. Using mediation instead of trial, avoids this possibility.
3). Less time investment. Mediation requires significantly less of your time to complete. In addition to the significant financial investment, if you are going to trial, you will need to spend days with your attorney in preparation for trial. You aren’t getting that time back, and you are paying for his.
4). Privacy. Mediation allows you to shield your private financial information and protect your wealth from the public. This is especially important for celebrity clients. You don’t want the public knowing where you finances are located or how much you have. Even if you manage to get a gag order, courts expose your finances to the public at an often unacceptable level.
5). Specificity. Rather than the one size fits all approach of court, mediation provides an avenue to construct a separation agreement that is specifically tailored for your needs. Do you need a non-modifiable spousal maintenance order that prevents your spouse from coming back to the well and dipping into your finances for more spousal maintenance again and again? You can’t get that in court, instead court leaves you exposed to the possibility of coming back to court again and again.
6). Finality. This is meant in both the emotional sense and financial sense. Mediation provides more finality and certainty than court because of its’ ability to custom tailor the orders to your specific needs. Not only does this allow you to construct an agreement that significantly lowers your exposure to landing land you back in court over some other issue in the future; but it also leads to a greater emotional satisfaction for you which allows you to release and let go of the marriage sooner. Don’t underestimate the value of being able to put the divorce behind you emotionally.
7). Cost. Mediation is simply cheaper than going to trial, period. Most clients pay us 10 times the price of mediation to go to trial. If you like to hand your attorney more money for not as good as a result, trial is for you. Otherwise, mediation is your best bet.
Weighing the pros and cons.
Despite the 7 advantages of mediation over court in a divorce listed above; unfortunately, it’s not always practical to mediate your way to resolving your case. If you are dealing with an irrational player on the other side, successful mediation may not be an option. The irrational player may not necessarily be your wife or husband, it’s often times just as much the attorney handling the case as it is the person the attorney represents.
If you are working your way through mediation and evaluating your options to help mitigate the risk to damage to your lifestyle and wealth, contact our office at (206) 633-2015 to arrange a paid consultation with one of our divorce attorneys in Seattle.