I am frequently asked about this and thought I would share my experiences with you.
Cost: Mediated divorces cost less.The average mediated divorce should cost less than $3,500 including the fees for separate lawyers. The average conventional divorce can easily cost about $20,000. Mediation almost always represents a significant economic saving.
Time: Mediated divorces are resolved faster. The average mediated divorce can be settled in two or three months. The average conventional divorce can take one to five years to resolve. Faster resolution means that the family can begin to heal much sooner rather than stewing in limbo and unable to move on.
Quality of agreement: Mediation results in better agreements. One of the worst features of conventionally resolved divorce is the high rate of failure of settlements. It is estimated that half of all conventional settlements are the subject of litigation within two years of the divorce. This suggests that many people do not feel committed to the contracts they negotiate under the duress of litigation. Because couples who mediate reach real agreement rather than just grudging trade-offs, mediated divorces have a much higher rate of compliance and a much lower rate of “post-judgment” litigation– usually less than five per cent.
Quality of communication: Mediated divorce improves the chances that the couple will be able to cooperate around the children after the divorce is over. Mediation, unlike conventional divorce, not only encourages, but requires the couple to learn new ways to communicate about child related issues. In mediation the couple learns to manage such issues with respectful and cordial behavior. It creates a businesslike partnership to solve problems and help the children adapt to divorce. In conventional divorce, the lawyers do the talking and the partners do not communicate directly. So when the divorce is over and the lawyers disappear the couple is left with a vacuum of communication. It is no surprise that so many end up back in court.