Divorce Mediator Vs Lawyer
Going through a divorce is certainly a very emotionally challenging and stressful period of time a person experiences in their lifetime. Life as you know it can come to a sudden standstill and the future image can turn hazy.
While you get caught in the chaotic storm of sadness and anger, your emotions can cloud your decisions and judgments which makes it even more important for you to understand how to go about getting a divorce. A better understanding of the procedures will ensure that you don’t wind up making critical mistakes on the road to divorce.
Mediation vs Litigation – What’s the difference?
When going through a divorce, there can be a dilemma regarding the decision to go with an divorce attorney or a mediator. To fully understand which option is right for you and your situation, the first step is to understand how mediation and litigation differ.
Who’s a mediator and what is a mediator’s role?
Mediation is one of the methods of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) available to parties who are willing to get a divorce. Mediation is essentially a negotiation facilitated by a neutral third party known as Mediator. He or she helps people involved in a conflict or dispute come to an agreement.
For couples seeking a divorce, the mediator becomes a helping hand. A mediator’s role is to help both the parties identify, negotiate and come to a mutual agreement on the various issues and important financial matters required to end their marriage out of court.
The divorce mediator actively participates in negotiations, but the parties have complete control over the decisions they will be making.
Mediation is a cost-effective alternative to get a divorce in comparison to other divorce techniques. A mediator has an arsenal of negotiation techniques, human dynamics skills, and powers of effective listening, articulation, and restatement. A mediator will also help you with all the paperwork involved in the process of divorce. Unlike most mediators, at Divorce Harmony we draft your Marital settlement agreement, Parenting Plan (if minor kids are involved) and the remainder of the papers you need to get divorced. No court visit will even be necessary.
The mediator encourages a free exchange of information that frees up both the parties to negotiate with each other in confidence. Mediation is a voluntary process. It goes on for as long as all three of you – your spouse, mediator and you – want it to. Mediating sessions can be conducted according to the availability of both parties. In divorce mediation both the spouses make every call. Read our article on tips for divorce mediation to know more.
A word about the Lawyer’s Role
A lawyer’s role is to advocate for the party that hired them with the goal of achieving the most favorable outcome for their own client. A divorce lawyer can only represent one party whereas a mediator is neutral at all times.
There are a number of steps involved in a divorce with lawyers and these steps vary from state-to-state, county-to-county, and couple-to-couple.
But in a standard-level divorce process, each party hires their own lawyer to identify, negotiate and attempt to resolve the issues required to process the divorce. The lawyers representing their party will enter into negotiations on the behalf of their clients and resolve the issues.
If a mutual agreement cannot be reached on any of the issues using this approach, the divorce will move to the court (litigation process).
A date will be set by the court. And each divorce attorney with the client that hired them will represent their case. The documents will be presented to the court for the divorce process (trial). There will be arguments regarding the merits, witnesses will be brought to testify, and even the couple’s children might be called to stand.
All of this takes place in court in front of a judge who decides the outcome regarding parenting and time-sharing, alimony, child support, child custody and division of assets and debts.
Divorce Mediator vs Lawyer
Should you mediate or litigate? This side-by-side comparison might help you decide:
|If you choose a mediator||If you choose an attorney|
|Professionals Involved||In divorce mediation, there’s only one mediator involved.||In Litigation, there are two lawyers involved in the divorce.|
|Control||Mediator empowers you to make your own decisions.||The outcome will be decided by the judge or commissioner. The lawyer usually tells the clients what to do.|
|Premise||A mediator stays neutral and cannot take sides. He or she helps both the spouses to reach a mutual agreement that stands the test of time, is best for both the spouses and their children.||A lawyer can only represent one client and their job is to represent or ‘fight’ for their own client to fetch favorable outcomes that may or may not be in favor of both the parties.|
|Time||Divorce mediation takes about two-four sessions (1-2 weeks) to complete the procedure.||A lawyer-driven divorce can take between 20 months-3 years to complete. It is also dependent on a lot of other factors like the availability of the attorneys, judge and other professionals involved.|
|Choices||You can try alternative parenting plans to see if they work. You can amend and change the plans without having to visit the court.||The court will take the decisions related to the parenting plan if no mutual agreement is in the place. You have to visit the court every time you want to make changes to your plan.|
|Money||Mediation is a more cost-effective method of getting a divorce. The fee of the mediator is often paid by both parties equally.||A standard lawyer-driven divorce costs a lot more than the mediation. If the case goes to trial, then the litigation can even break your bank balance.|
|Peace||The mediation process is cooperative and it is more peaceful to work with a mediator.||A lawyer-driven divorce, especially litigation, is not as peaceful as mediation.|
|Confidentiality||Mediation is a private and confidential process.||With the court trial involved, litigation is a matter of public record.|
Which one should you pick: Divorce Mediator or Lawyer?
As anyone, who’s going through a divorce can tell you, the process is not easy. Tensions run high, and the couple often makes bad decisions in the heat of the moment. Given the mountain of financial, emotional, and practical details that have to be sorted, it is not easy to decide which route to take.
So what’s the bottom line? The bottom line is that the decision of how to go about getting a divorce will always be yours. It will depend on a lot of other factors as well. But, If you choose to take the divorce mediator route you are going to save your time. You are going to save lots of money. You are going to get all the guidance you need.
At Divorce Harmony, we will help you to iron out the papers and make a wiser decision. Start with a free 20-minute consultation to filing all your legal court documents. If you are a Florida resident, visit our Divorce Mediation in Florida page for more details.
Get your divorce agreement finalized from the comfort of your own home with our online divorce mediation process. Book a free appointment online and get started today.