There is one point we would like to make regarding litigation, which is that it is not often a friendly process. In matters, such as custody, where parties will be required to communicate for years to come, litigation can create feelings of anger or resentment that affect the parties' abilities to act amicably towards each other. Once arguments in a courtroom open, the gloves come off and the very public war begins.
There are many reasons to avoid family law litigation whenever possible, but we would like to give you what we believe are several great reasons to utilize mediation.
They are as follows: (1) Costs. A mediation will cost far less than hourly attorney fees and expenses for a long trial; (2) Court backlogs. Expect to wait months, if not years, for a trial date; (3) Decisions will be made about your children, by a judge, before you ever even get on the stand to testify. These are done by the filing and arguing of motions and petitions, both of which will bring about court orders that may remain in place until trial. In some cases, this could mean that one parent would go months without seeing the children as much as you would like; (4) The judge who decides your children's fate will likely never even meet them, much less personally hear their wishes; and (5) Once the matter is before a judge, he or she has the authority to reject all settlement proposals and issue a final order. This could end up being worse than what an ex-spouse proposed.
There are still many other reasons to utilize the mediation process instead of going to a courtroom. If parties can be amicable enough to come to an acceptable agreement, everyone involved wins. Though both spouses may be forced to compromise on certain issues, in the end it is the children who will benefit most of all.
Mediation is a wonderful option for both divorce and custody matters. An experienced, expert mediator is a valuable resource in finding resolution and peace where there often is none.