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If you are weighing Divorce Court vs. Mediation, you certainly have asked yourself the following question. “Won’t I get more support, custody, or property if I go to court?” Like most legal matters, the answer is “it depends.” It depends on the facts of your case, the judge you draw, and your value system. Divorce Mediation does not guarantee that you will receive more property, custody, or support, than if you go to court. But it also doesn’t guarantee that you will receive less. Mediation does provide you with cost savings, control, and a greater amount of privacy and personal attention than you could hope for in divorce court.

Divorce Litigation operates on a diminishing returns equation meaning the longer you continue to litigate the less return you get on your investment. The longer you litigate the more you are likely to spend on attorneys’ fees, litigation expenses, court fees, and expert witness fees. And the longer you litigate, the more time you are likely to miss from work and from your life because spending a day in divorce court is no way to live. Remember I did it and my mood by the end of the day was usually as dark as the wood paneling on the walls of the courtroom. It is a sad place that drains you.

But can’t I get an award of attorneys’ fees and litigation expenses?

Sure there are laws that provide that a spouse can be awarded attorneys’ fees and litigation expenses if you can show your financial need is greater than your spouses or that your spouse acted so badly that he or she should be punished, To date, however, I have never seen a Judge order one side to pay 100% of the other side’s attorneys’ fees and litigation expenses.  So you can dwindle your life savings fighting over the wedding china, but remember it will be the attorneys’ kids going to 4 year colleges. Yours, on the other hand, will be suck at a J.C. No offense to Junior Colleges, I attended them myself, but wouldn’t you rather spend your money putting your kids through U.C. Berkeley?

But my spouse was a jerk, how will he/she learn if I don’t stand up for myself?

Let me save you $50,000.00 by letting you in on a little secret–he or she won’t ever learn to stop being a jerk no matter what you do. Most people do not want to be jerks. The ones who are usually cannot help themselves. And neither can you. If you could, you wouldn’t need a divorce. I know this is a harsh reality to accept, but if you have any hope of staying away from jerks, you must accept this truth and cut your losses. You will not feel better at the end of a 3-year divorce, having spent over $50,000.00, when the judge gives your jerk of an ex half the assets and a substantial time share with your children. It is more likely that you will feel embarrassed that you fought so hard to gain nothing–and you do not deserve this added suffering.

Can Mediation really save me money, time, and stress?

Yes. If you approach mediation with the right mindset. Mediation is a way to get divorced where you consciously decide that you will make your best effort to fairly share the children, divide the property, and set up support (if needed) even if you want to kick dirt in your soon to be ex-spouse’s eyes. Mediation is a choice. Litigation is a choice. Litigation means choosing to give someone else power over your life; mediation means keeping power over your own life. Any agreement you two can reach is going to be easier to live with than an order made by a judge who doesn’t agree with either of you. So take the first step and schedule your free divorce mediation phone call today.

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