Any divorce that involves children and child custody can become a heart wrenching battle between parents. A divorce which is litigated, rather than mediated, almost guarantees a significant wedge between the parties and their children. To its farthest extent, divorce litigation can also end in violence. On October 12, 2011, a father, battle-weary from a custody dispute, went on a shooting rampage that left eight people dead, including his target: the mother of his child and his ex-wife. The incident, also known as the “Seal Beach Salon Massacre”, was the most extreme and violent manifestation of divorce litigation in recent years. Not to mention the countless numbers of restraining orders that divorcing spouses file against each other during litigation.

The problem with divorce litigation is that it is adversarial in nature; it encourages conflict and disagreement. Before a judge makes a decision, parties have every incentive to strategize against the other party until they believe they’ve won. Even after most judgments, parties remain dissatisfied and continue the cycle of hatred towards their former spouses.

Divorce mediation, on the other hand, focuses on resolving disputes, rather than on exacerbating conflict. Mediation creates a cooperative environment for both parties to communicate openly and safely. A mediator is a neutral third party to the divorce who works with both parties to reach a satisfactory agreement. This is a stark contrast to the adversarial nature of litigation. A mediator will help you reach an amenable divorce agreement with your spouse as quickly as possible; whereas, many litigators will prolong the process or do whatever is necessary to exhaust the other side’s resources. Mediation requires respect, cooperation, and patience—all of which are stepping stones to an efficient and peaceful divorce.

From a practical perspective, mediation will also save you time, money, and energy. Mediation usually takes three hours of mediation time with the parties, along with the time it takes to disclose the parties’ financial statements, draft a divorce agreement, and file a Petition for Divorce with the court. Mediation will save you time and billable hours from discovery, pleadings and motions, hearings (which are subject to the judge’s limited time availability), trial preparation, and frustrating 4-way conferences.

On average, a mediated divorce will total $2,000-$7,500; whereas, a litigated divorce can cost from $10,000 to $60,000 or more. When you and your spouse come to a mutual agreement, you will both walk out of mediation with a better relationship and create a healthier living and emotional environment for your children. Most importantly, mediation helps you build a foundation for future cooperation with your spouse when it comes to your children.

Author's Bio: 

Attorney Ed Amaral is a long time believer in integrating state of the art technology into the antiquated legal profession…especially divorce mediation. He is the founder of OnlineDivorceMediation.Com and is the President of the family law firm, Amaral & Associates P.C. His practice primarily focuses on providing divorce, divorce mediation, probate, domestic and off-shore asset protection, asset searches, estate planning and personal injury services to individuals and family businesses. His divorce mediation practice is national and now online for his customers. For the last 19 years, he has negotiated, mediated and tried hundreds of cases on issues including divorce, divorce mediation, property, support, custody and parental rights, ante-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements, personal injury and complex financial matters in front of the Commonwealth Courts and has achieved favorable results for his clients. Amaral is also certified in Divorce Mediation. He is admitted to practice law in the State and Federal Courts of Massachusetts and the United States Supreme Court. He is a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association, Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys, and the Beverly Hills Bar Association. Amaral currently has offices located at 63 Atlantic Avenue in the historic North End of Boston, on the Waterfront, and at 246 Revere Street, on the North shore, in Winthrop, Massachusetts.

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