There is a cost to getting divorced….emotional cost and financial cost, to name a couple. One reason to mediate is that it costs less, a lot less. As the saying goes, “Send your own kids to college, instead of your attorney’s kids!”
Boston Law Collaborative analyzed 199 of its divorce cases and found that for most cases mediation, collaborative law and litigation were all avenues that produced settlements; however, mediation was considerably less expensive than the other options. The average cost for their mediation cases was $6,600 compared to $19,723 for a collaborative divorce, $26,830 for settlements negotiated by adversary lawyers, and $77,746 for full-blown litigation. See "More Couples Seeking Kinder, Gentler Divorces" http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22315262/
Okay…so cost isn’t everything. But cost is not the only reason to use mediation, there are many reasons. One major reason is the level of satisfaction in the outcome. Divorcing couples are usually incredibly frustrated with the traditional litigation process and extremely dissatisfied with the outcome. They feel disempowered, stressed and financially strained, but to top it off, they pay a lot of money for something that does not even begin to address their needs and the outcome ends up being unsatisfactory to both parties! On the other hand, of all the processes available, mediation gives people the most choice and the most control. In other words, most people get the best outcome for their buck by using mediation. Mediation may seem a bit challenging. However, if you could possibly save over $70,000….or save over $20,000…or even save $13,000 ….and get a better result, isn’t mediation something worth exploring?
Nancy Hudgins, a San Francisco mediator and lawyer, began specializing in civil litigation in the 1970's. She has represented both plaintiffs and defendants, chiefly in personal injury, medical malpractice, elder abuse and product liability lawsuits, but also in a wide variety of complex litigation, including civil rights, fraud and class actions. She has settled and mediated thousands of cases. In addition to civil litigation mediation, she also co-mediates divorces with John Duda, a marriage and family therapist.
Debra Synovec, a Seattle-based mediator and lawyer, has mediated divorces for 20 years. She believes in empowering the parties to reach their own resolution.