By: Hoang-Anh Zapien
Not every divorce has to be a knock-down, drag-out fight. Contrary to popular belief, divorce can be a relatively amicable and straightforward process, depending on how the parties choose to handle it. Parties who find themselves in a long, contentious divorce battle often realize in the end that they expended more time, money and energy than necessary. For parties who desire a faster, less expensive and more amicable way of divorcing, mediation may be the option for you.
In mediation, both parties sit down with a neutral third party to try and reach an amicable agreement as to the division and allocation of assets, debts and liabilities, as well as any other issues relating to the divorce. Full disclosure is required by both parties and essential to the success of the mediation. The mediator has the responsibility of guiding the parties towards a middle ground, with the hopes of settling all issues relating to the divorce to obtain a full and final judgment. The benefits of mediation include:
1. AFFORDABLE AND COST EFFECTIVE
Most couples do not realize the cost of litigating a divorce. The cost of a highly contentious divorce can be very expensive and financially burdensome on both parties.
Mediation is more cost effective and affordable because both parties are retaining one neutral mediator to try and resolve all issues for them.
2. EFFICIENT AND EXPEDITIOUS RESOLUTION
The litigation process in court can be dragged out for several months or even years. Mediation allows the parties to resolve all issues within days or weeks, depending on how quickly the parties can come to a resolution.
3. PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL
Divorces litigated in court are public proceedings, whereas in mediation, all meetings and settlement negotiations take place in a private location.
4. YOU MAINTAIN CONTROL
When a divorce is litigated in court, both parties voluntarily hand over all control to the judge, who they entrust to make important life decisions on their behalf. Although judges are trained and competent in their profession, they are strangers and know little about the family dynamic other than what the parties or attorneys are able to tell them while in court. The parties are essentially leaving their fate in the hands of a stranger.
In mediation, the parties retain control over their own lives and they make decisions based on what they know is best for themselves and their children.
It is never too late to turn to mediation. Whether you are contemplating divorce, or are in the middle of a divorce, mediation can be utilized to work through any issues that are preventing the divorce from being finalized.
Hoang-Anh Zapien is an Associate with Kring & Chung, LLP's Inland Empire, CA offices. She can be contacted at (909) 941-3050 or firstname.lastname@example.org.