Many couples disregard the option of mediation without understanding exactly how they might benefit from the process. Some believe mediation will be impossible because they cannot speak with their partner without fighting. Others have heard misinformation about substantial fees they will need to pay upfront, or that mediation is only for couples who want to reconcile their marriage. Still others are afraid that a mediation session will coerce them into compromising their needs.
These misconceptions prevent many people from taking advantage of an affordable, efficient, and low-stress opportunity for negotiation. No matter their situation, most couples will benefit from mediation and effectively avoid court battles capable of traumatizing everyone involved—especially children.
Here are 5 crucial facts to know about mediation:
- Mediation is affordable. In nearly every case, mediation costs less than taking your case to the courtroom. According to the National Conflict Resolution Center, litigated divorce can often cost more than 3 times as much as mediated divorce. They also state that it is common for each party in a litigated divorce to pay $25,000 to $100,000 in attorney fees over the entirety of the case. Avoiding litigation in this way can help you safeguard your financial future.
- Mediation is for everyone. Domestic partners, same-sex couples, spouses, and unmarried couples can all benefit from mediation. This process offers an informal and low-stakes environment for parties to establish fair terms regarding child visitation rights, property division, financial issues, and more. Even if you and your partner do not currently get along, mediation can be an effective negotiation method, because the mediator is trained to facilitate successful and productive sessions that meet the needs of both parties.
- Mediation is confidential. Before a mediation session begins, all parties must sign confidentiality agreements. All offers, counteroffers, and settlement negotiations are inadmissible in subsequent court proceedings, and mediators are not permitted to testify using details discussed during mediation. Divorce (especially when contested) may be publicized due to the discovery process, in which both partners disclose personal and financial data so the court can make an informed decision.
- Certified mediators are highly trained. These mediators have completed 40 hours of intensive training to receive their certification. They are uniquely qualified to provide necessary legal counsel, facilitate effective communication, and help you resolve your case with minimal stress and legal hurdles. Their goal is to offer solutions and support the development of arrangements that are fair to both parties.
- Mediation is successful in nearly all cases. Most mediators report upwards of 80% success rates for family law mediation. Because of this significant potential for success, mediation is an investment that couples should seriously consider. Assuming divorce is the only option may needlessly result in heavy financial burdens, months of legal obstacles, and significantly higher levels of stress.
For many couples, the benefits of mediation will far outweigh the costs. Before taking your family matter or divorce to the courtroom, seek professional legal counsel and a certified mediator.
Miller Bowles Cushing is an award-winning team of attorneys with more than 3 decades of combined experience. Because we are committed to providing our clients with the highest possible quality of legal support and litigation, our lawyers are North Carolina Board-Certified Specialists in family law. When you work with our team, you will benefit from unparalleled skills and the genuine compassion you deserve. Schedule your initial consultation or call our firm at (704) 810-1400 today.