Costs: Mediation or Litigation?
Mediation Costs compared to traditional Separation and Divorce Litigation in the Court System.
The Mediation process is faster, less stressful, private, controlled and very, very often, less expensive.
All one needs to do is recall a day in court, awaiting one's turn at a traffic ticket hearing, to imagine the time lost from work and legal bills associated with utilizing the court system. However, a traffic ticket hearing is usually resolved in a day. Unfortunately, the separation and divorce process usually involves multiple trips to the court house to present evidence, witnesses and arguments to a judge who decides for the couple what will happen to their children, finances and property. Naturally the two attorneys representing a couple must bill for time travelling to and from court and waiting to be heard by the judge. Conservatively speaking, a two-hour wait/travel time, for a 10 minute court hearing simply to schedule the court timetable of a case, might cost a family four hours of legal fees.
By contrast, after four hours of mediation negotiations (costing the couple four mediation professional hours) a couple will be well on their way to making the immediate and pressing decisions, such as which spouse will leave the family home, and how that can be done without compromising legal rights relating to children, support and property. With the pressing, immediate decisions made in a controlled way, the couple can focus on the complete, permanent resolution of the conflicts presented, privately, and as calmly as possible.
Keeping Control and Maintaining Privacy for and of Your Children, Finances and Property and Legal Fees. How do Mediated agreements differ from agreements reached through attorney-driven negotiations or decisions made by judges in a court room? Although there are many differences which are explained on this site, the key differences are the control a family maintains over each decision and step taken in the process, in a private setting. These processes give families the maximum control over what is happening to them, when and how and at what cost to their children, finances and property. Mediated Agreements or decisions are the product of the two human beings who entered into the relationship.
Resentment and Frustration over choices made by a judge or agreements made out of fear and not out of logic and practicality. Resentment and frustration over personal choices made for a family by a judge, or agreements negotiated by litigation lawyers driven to "win" for their clients through the use of positioning, fear-inspiring tactics, are common emotional by-products. Coming to a financial agreement, out of fear of potential "other" losses (custody threats, or the threat of financial helplessness) often produce impractical or unfair results for one party. A spouse who feels he or she has "the upper-hand" (perhaps due to the marital "fault" of the other) may quickly find that his or her "win" is short-lived. How many financial "winners" find their "loser" spouses filing for bankruptcy, losing their employment due to distress, or despairing in emotional losses over children by withdrawing from their lives? What if "the loser" spouse moves away or starts another family to replace the one he or she lost? How difficult might it become to reap the fruits of the "win"? The "winner" may find that the elation in the court house or after wrangling an overly-favorable "agreement" from a spouse through fear-mongering by the "better" lawyer(translation: more aggressive, better-connected, more experienced) is quickly deflated by the reality of the negative reactions or impact on "the loser."
In short, if the "win" causes negative reactions or impact, or is impractical for one party, who will "live with" these consequences when the ink dries on the judgement or agreement? Often the litigation lawyers will "go another round" to enforce the judge's decision or the agreement. How much more money will that cost you? Or, what if the "winner" is suddenly the "loser" on the same or unrelated issue? How will his or her spouse exact revenge or retaliation? Then what?
Common Sense. Unless you live in a bubble, the scenarios painted in the "win-lose" situation above are probably familiar stories. It has happened to someone you know, or you've seen it dramatized in a movie. These realities are not complex or far-fetched. Finding a way to resolve the conflicts between even the most rage-filled and scorned spouses simply makes common sense. Even if YOU are the spouse bent on retaliation, you know that underneath the hurt and anger, YOU will have to go on after the conflicts are decided. This "moving on" will be difficult enough without financial devastion, emotionally-traumatized children, lost jobs and homes caused by irrational decisions born from hate and revenge. Let a mediator attorney help you manage this process and help you help yourself. It logically follows that complying with the terms of an agreement born of self-determination and free choice is easier than being told what to do.
Serving the communities of the greater Baltimore Metropolitan Area, including:
Located in Baltimore County, Maryland