Going through a divorce is hard and expensive, no matter what way you choose to go about it. There are options available to keep those costs as low as possible, though many people may not know about these options or how to make a choice about the method of divorce they wish to use. Coming to a divorce settlement before filing for divorce or after filing for divorce, before your first court date, is an option. Another option is participating in a mediation session between both parties to come to a fair agreement with an attorney present to give advice. The third is the most well know: a courtroom divorce argued in front of and decided by a judge.
All three of these options come with vastly different price tags, ranging from a couple hundred to over $10,000, vastly different processes, and vastly different timelines. Mediation sits squarely in the middle of all three categories. Mediation divorces, mediated by a divorce mediation attorney, have the highest success rate of the three divorces. At The Law Office of Jeanne M Wilson & Associates, our family law lawyers in Colorado Springs provide mediation services to all divorce parties, to help keep your costs low and your timeline short.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a tool of the family court system used during custody cases or the divorce process, and other types of cases, in order to limit the time in court for the parties in the hope to reach a settlement that is agreeable to all parties involved. During a mediation session, all parties and their divorce attorneys, though legal representation is not needed or suggested for mediation, must be present, as well as a neutral mediator to make unbiased comments and provide unbiased advice to both parties to help them reach an agreement.
During mediation, the mediator is only there to give advice to both parties and make suggestions, as well as record what the parties have decided. This means that you may wish to keep everything in your divorce due to infidelity, and the mediator may advise you against this as a judge may not approve, and if both parties agree you can have the mediator record this for the proposed divorce settlement against the mediator's advice. This means that divorce settlements created in mediation are entirely customizable by the parties, as long as both parties agree.
Is Mediation Better Than Court?
The easiest approach to divorce isn't mediation for some people, but it is always the cheapest path to a final divorce settlement. While divorce lawyers in Colorado Springs are almost always a necessity if you are fighting a divorce in court, they are not needed or even suggested for mediation.
The presence of an unbiased mediator is all that is needed, a neutral party helps both parties understand the likelihood of their requests being approved or allowed, and why they will or will not be. For example, one parent may insist on high child support from the other party, while having less custody, and a mediator would be able to explain to them why that is not likely to happen.
All issues in divorce proceedings come down to money, property, and child custody issues, all of which most parties want to have a say in. In mediation, you do have a say, whereas in court all you can do is argue your reason why you've made a particular request, but it is ultimately up to the judge.
Where Do We Find a Mediator and How Much Do They Cost?
While the average cost of a courtroom divorce in Colorado is around $11,500, or around 48 billable hours at a $240 hourly rate, the average mediation divorce only costs an average of $7000, saying both parties thousands of dollars, and this cost is split evenly between the parties, meaning that $7000 price tag would be lowered to each party paying $3500 total. That means the price for a family law mediator is the best pathway for everyone, but especially those with financial issues who do not have almost $12,000 to put towards their divorce cost.
Finding divorce mediators in Colorado is extremely simple. Many family law attorneys, like the experienced attorneys at our firm, will accept mediation clients. Choosing an experienced family law attorney for this collaborative divorce process is essential, as they will be able to best advise both parties based on their own experiences representing other clients in court. Having a family law attorney mediate your divorce can help the process from start to a final divorce agreement go as quickly as possible.
Many people may believe they can work out their divorce themselves, but without mediation services, they have no way of knowing if their marital assets property division will be accepted by the judge, or if their child custody decisions and child support payments will be thrown out. Since divorce is a family law matter, having a neutral family law attorney is your best bet for an inexpensive and quick divorce.
Is Mediation Final?
Not always. A family law judge must review and approve all decisions made during mediation. This is an added protection for both parties so that neither party is taken advantage of during the division of assets or any other part of the divorce mediation process.
For example, if one party overthrows the other party and takes over mediation and creates an unfair divorce settlement, a judge may decide to send the parties back to mediation or simply adjust the settlement to what they deem fair.
This is to prevent things like one party paying the other party an extremely high amount of child support or alimony that may leave one party destitute, or adjusting a parenting plan that is stacked extremely in the favor of one party without a justifiable reason. If the judge decides that the divorce agreement is fair and justifiable, then they will sign the divorce petition and your time in the court system is over in the quickest way possible.
Experienced Mediation Help
At our firm, we take great pride in our experience and success rates as family law mediators. Many issues in mediation can be solved by the presence of an attorney with lengthy experience in divorce courts and proceedings.
The benefits of mediation vs court are astounding. Don't waste your time and money fighting in court to be given a settlement that you aren't happy with, instead sit down with a mediator and work out a deal that makes both parties as happy as they possibly could be.
If you are going through a divorce in Colorado Springs, or the surrounding areas, call The Law Office of Jeanne M Wilson & Associates today for a consultation with one of our family law attorneys to discuss a plan for your mediation needs.