3 reasons to trade your divorce lawyer for a mediator

November 3, 2015

Trading in divorce lawyers for a mediator often results in higher satisfaction with the final agreement, lower legal expenses and a more positive relationship once the dust has settled. Here are three reasons why it's a good idea to trade your divorce lawyer for a mediator.

3 reasons to trade your divorce lawyer for a mediator

What's in it for you?

Nearly half of marriages are expected to end in divorce prior to reaching the 30th anniversary, according to Indicators of Well-Being in Canada. Making the decision to divorce is hard, and manoeuvring through the legal system makes the experience harder.

1. Mediation offers a win-win solution

  • When divorce terms are negotiated by attorneys and decided by the courts, neither party is likely to be satisfied with the result.
  • Divisions of property and child custody issues are determined based on a strict interpretation of applicable laws and the court's perception of the child's best interests.
  • In mediation, both parties have an opportunity for their voices to be heard, and all decisions are made by the participants with the help of the mediator.
  • Instead of the win/lose proposition offered by the court system, mediation strives for a win/win outcome.

2. It's cheaper

  • A 2013 survey by Canadian Lawyer magazine found that many legal firms specializing in divorce have raised rates in the past two years, and a large number have plans to increase rates still further.
  • At the time of this survey, a contested divorce cost each spouse between $9,989 and $33,881 in legal fees.
  • Choosing the mediation route instantly cuts any expenses in half, as the parties work together towards a solution with a single mediator rather than against each other with separate attorneys.
  • Mediators' fees tend to be less than standard attorney's fees, and many mediators offering preset half-day and full-day rates.

3. Mediation focuses on collaboration

  • The very process of mediation ensures that a positive foundation is laid so the post-divorce relationship can be civil and parents can work together as a team.
  • Although court proceedings often require participants to focus on each other's negative characteristics in order to win, mediation emphasizes a focus on resolving present concerns and collaborating on a plan for future interactions that is comfortable for both spouses.
  • Ending a marriage is one of the biggest life changes people experience, and it takes a long time to settle in to a new lifestyle.
  • The process of rebuilding is further complicated when former spouses have to recover from the anguish of an angry court battle.
  • The financial ramifications of significant attorney expenses can ruin the financial future of either or both people and dramatically extend the recovery period.
  • Trading divorce lawyers in for skilled mediators is a proven first step in creating a secure post-divorce future.
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