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Sound Reasons Why You Should Mediate Your Divorce.

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I have been a divorce attorney for over 25 years and a divorce mediator for almost as long. When a potential client asks me whether they should mediate their divorce or whether they should just get their own attorney and file for a contested divorce, I tell them the following.
A contested divorce can last well over a year.  In fact, in Massachusetts, the tracking order assigned to your contested divorce is for fourteen (14) months. Which means that the life span of a contested divorce can be as much as 14 months. During this time frame, the parties will exchange financial documents, attend numerous hearings on temporary orders in court, have a pre-trial hearing followed up by status conferences and then a trial if your case does not settle.
All of this discovery and all of the court hearings and meetings or phone call with your attorney will cost you money in legal fees both to you and your spouse. A divorce attorney can make 10-20 times more in legal fees on a contested case then they can on a mediated case. Legal retainers range from $ 5,000 to
$ 20,000, per spouse, for an initial retainer, depending on what is in dispute and the nature of your assets.  Whereas, divorce mediation can cost each spouse as little as a $ 1,000 per spouse plus the filing fee which is $ 215 here in Massachusetts.
At Amaral & Associates, P.C., for example, we have program called FIT Divorce Mediation at www.amarallaw.com .  FIT stands for fast, inexpensive and thorough. The cost per spouse is $ 999.00 plus the filing fee. This flat fee includes three (3) hours of face time with your mediator which is all that is usually needed. In addition, this fee includes the preparation of your divorce agreement, the divorce filing and the preparation of your respective financial statements. We will then file the agreement with the court for you and a divorce hearing date will be assigned to you in usually six (6) to (8) weeks. Then you and your spouse will appear together for a brief five (5) minute hearing before a judge. It’s that easy and a lot faster than 14 months and a hell of lot less expensive.
Moreover, the agreement is just as thorough as though you went through a contested divorce. Each divorce agreement consists of the number of years that your mediator has been practicing and after each year, the agreements get refined. The same agreements are used on contested case for all issues, including, but not limited to, alimony, custody, child support, division of real and personal property, parenting plans, medical and life insurance, education, taxes and exemption issues and payment of debt.
The mediation process is also very amicable. This is important if you would like to preserve what is still left in your relationship with your spouse. In addition, it is less burdensome on your children. Because when you get divorced from each other, you are not divorcing your family, only your spouse. The father is still the father, the mother is still the mother, the children are still your children, and the family is still your family.
For more information on divorce mediation, give us a call at (617) 539-1010 or email me at edamaral@amarallaw.com .

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