Should You Hire a Divorce Attorney or Divorce Mediator?

Deciding to get a divorce is a very difficult decision and not one to be made lightly. There are many things you will need to consider, starting with these 7 points. Once you think you want to move ahead, who do you call? Most think to call a lawyer, which most often leads to the traditional path to a divorce. While there are times you will need to have a lawyer  litigate your divorce in court, it should be one of the last options you choose. Do you need a divorce lawyer or divorce mediator?

The reality is that the vast majority of divorces should not be handled within the court system. Today, many choose a constructive divorce process that facilitates a more positive future rather than one that tears them down. At the top of the list of constructive divorce processes is mediation. 

Let’s look more closely at the differences between working with a litigating divorce attorney and a professional divorce mediator.

What is Litigation with a Divorce Lawyer

The court-centered, traditional divorce process is where each party gets a divorce attorney and then battles it out in the courts with petitions, hearings, mandated conferences, and maybe even a full-blown trial. This is a relatively costly, slow, and divisive process. 

Attorneys are trained to be adversarial and most divorce attorneys charge an hourly rate of $350 or higher. They are incentivized to spend more time working through the details of court filings, support, property division, and custody. and divorce settlement agreement. When you have two attorneys discussing the minutiae of your divorce and arguing in court, the couple may be paying well over $700 an hour! It’s no wonder that many litigated divorces cost $40,000 and sometimes significantly more.

What is a Divorce Mediator

Divorce mediation is the first of the constructive divorce processes you’ll want to consider. It’s expert-guided, relatively fast and inexpensive and it allows the couple to control their futures and privacy. Mediation is a process where both parties want to resolve their issues and come to an agreement together about custody and the parenting plan, child support, alimony, and property division. A mediator doesn’t make decisions but they assist through a variety of methods including education, financial analysis, conflict resolution, best practices, etc. 

Divorce mediation is a good choice for those who want a gentler divorce that will allow them to keep more of their money and dignity. The couple doesn’t have to be amicable, they just have to be willing to negotiate in good faith. One thing for sure, their long-term relationship will be much better if they can work through mediation rather than the courts. This is especially valuable for parents who will be interacting throughout their children’s lives but important for anyone’s future well-being and peace. 

A divorce mediator can be a lawyer, a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA®) or other appropriately trained individual. Be sure you understand the differences in your alternatives and which would be best suited for your case. The decision of choosing a divorce attorney or a divorce mediator is a personal one.

If you need some help figuring out which approach would be best for you, get in touch with TruNorth Divorce and ask for a Free Divorce Strategy Session to explore your options. They specialize in providing expert divorce mediation advice to individuals and couples considering divorce. They are certified divorce financial analysts and trained divorce coaches who specialize in helping divorcing individuals and couples get their best possible outcome.


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