Divorce options: lawyers vs mediation

2015-02-01 15:00

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When Ashley decided to get divorced, she was determined that it would be as amicable and as cost-effective as possible. There are several options available to you, which vary in terms of time and cost. She chose the route of divorce mediation.

“I chose the mediation route for cost purposes but mainly because I was committed to an amicable process. We mediated the maintenance agreement and our parenting plan.

The formal documents were then processed by an attorney,” she says. If you choose to have your divorce mediated, you should note that all discussions in the mediation sessions are legally privileged.

This means that the discussions are not legally binding on either you or your spouse until you sign a consent paper. Also, unlike court proceedings, which become a matter of public record, divorce mediation sessions are entirely confidential. Mediation sessions range from one hour to one and a half hours in length and some mediators can arrange for an attorney to sit in on your mediation session.

However, be aware that there is an additional cost for the attorney and this means you might be better off going straight to a shared attorney.

Thabisile * (name changed), who also used a divorce mediator initially, found the process to be helpful from the perspective that the mediator pointed out certain flaws in the draft settlement agreement that she and her husband had drawn up. “We agreed that we would take turns to host our son’s birthday and that we would split costs 50/50.

The mediator pointed out that we should also reach agreement regarding birthday parties that our son attends and how the gift costs would be split as well as a ceiling cost for gifts,” she notes.

Divorce attorney, Bertus Preller of Bertus Preller and Associates, says mediation is a good option if both parties are amicable, are able to work together and share a common interest in the wellbeing of their children.

Note that unlike a divorce lawyer, a mediator is neutral and can not take sides during your sessions. Unlike a judge in a court of law, the mediator can not make decisions for you.

A messy divorce can wipe you out both financially and emotionally. Divorce mediation can provide a more cost effective and amicable solution.

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