Is Mediation A Good Idea?
The average cost of a vehicle at any given Treasure Coast car dealership may be $25,000, but the individual vehicles are often priced well above that figure or well below it. In the same way, the average cost of a Lucie County divorce may be $10,000, but individual cases may cost a lot more, or a lot less, than that. In fact, when potential clients ask “how much will the divorce cost when all is said and done?”, about the only honest answer is “it will probably cost more than you anticipate.”
Most divorces have an emotional cost as well. Even if the spouse is not sorry in the least to see the marriage end, these people may well spend sleepless nights worrying about the outcome and the financial cost.
In many cases, mediation may reduce both the financial and emotional costs involved in a divorce.
According to 2015 statistics from the Department of Justice, voluntary ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) proceedings had a 71 percent success rate, saving the participants over $14 million in discovery and litigation expenses.
There are a couple of explanations for this cost savings. First, in many cases, divorce mediation shortens the length of the proceedings. Instead of full discovery that involves expensive party and non-party depositions, the parties may agree to mediate based on the information obtained during written discovery. Second, it takes less time to prepare for a one-day mediation than a multi-day trial. Third, even if not all the issues are resolved, they are often narrowed, so attorneys have less work to do.
There is some evidence that mediated settlements have a higher voluntary compliance rate than outcomes that a judge or jury seem to dictate. More compliance means fewer trips to the courthouse in later years for motions to enforce, so mediation’s emotional and financial savings may well carry over into the future.
Co-parenting is not a consideration in all cases. Many divorcing couples have no minor children, and in other cases, the marriage came to such a traumatic end that there is no hope of salvaging any sort of relationship between the parties.
But in most cases, there must be some amount of civility. The divorced parents must be able to deal with everyday disputes, such as a soccer tournament that conflicts with a regularly-scheduled visitation weekend, without filing expensive motions to enforce at the drop of a hat. Mediation can empower the parents to handle these situations: since they worked out their disputes with little outside help before, they reason that they may be able to do so again.
Mediation is not always successful; according to those same DOJ statistics, the resolution rate in court-ordered ADR sessions was substantially lower. Mediation is not always advisable, because there may be trust issues or other issues that make it impossible for the parties to come together for any purpose. But, in most cases, mediation is at least worth a try.
Rely on Experienced Attorneys
For prompt assistance with a family law matter, whether it involves litigation or mediation or both, contact an experienced divorce attorney in Port St. Lucie. At the Eighmie Law Firm, P.A., we offer convenient payment plans.