Our mediators are doubly knowledgeable – we know family law and we know how to work with people to come to a fair agreement. We can help divorcing couples reach agreements on parenting, division of assets and/or spousal support. In some cases, parties can’t agree on one or two distinct issues in mediation, and they may decide to resolve those remaining problems through their lawyers. This targeted approach is less expensive and time-consuming than trying to complete the entire divorce in court.
Attorneys typically charge by the hour, with fees ranging from $300-500 an hour. If each spouse has his/her own attorney, the costs quickly add up. For example, a simple parenting issue of deciding how to get the children from one home to another can generate bills of $1,000 for husband and wife, because each spouse must speak to his/her own lawyer and then the two lawyers need to communicate with each other, and then report back to their clients. Yet, in mediation, husband and wife are in the same room, paying a single lower fee, and working together. Similarly, if a couple can work together with a mediator to devise a parenting schedule, why bring that issue to two attorneys who charge high hourly fees to meet with you and negotiate with each other, instead of one lower-priced mediator? The end result, the parenting plan, can be the same whether you use a mediator or litigation, so why pay more for the same result.
Think about what you do in other areas of your life -- when your child has an ear infection, you go to the pediatrician, not the ENT. Only when the child has an unresolved problem do you go to the specialist. Why? Because you know your pediatrician has the skills to handle it, and because it saves you time and money. You can handle your divorce the same way – go to the mediators, and use your lawyers, only as needed. Limit the amount of time and money spent with lawyers.
In addition, by limiting the issues on the table after mediation, there is less gamesmanship – why argue about matters on which you mainly agree? Arguing just for the sake of arguing hurts everyone – husband, wife, children and extended family. By finding areas of agreement through mediation, divorcing couples improve their post-divorce relationship, which also minimizes the stress for your children.
As we tell our callers, tell your spouse that it isn’t true that the best results require high-priced lawyers. At Westfield Mediation, LLC, clients benefit from the knowledge and experience of mediators with backgrounds in law, marriage and family therapy. As graduates from the most prestigious universities in the country, we learned from leaders in our fields. We offer legal and mental health expertise, and have access to the highest quality resources. Divorce through mediation, or through a combination of mediation and litigation, is the best way to go.
Randi M. Albert