Mediation: Is it better to settle a divorce out of court?
Many divorcing couples would do anything not to have to face each other in court, battling out their issues. If couples in San Francisco can agree there might be better ways than allowing a judge to make decisions for them, they might be open to alternatives such as mediation. Having said that, there may be some couples who can’t settle issues no matter what they do, and litigation in these cases is the only way.
The merits of staying out of court
When a couple can settle issues privately, it likely means less financial layout, less time expended and less stress. Litigation goes by the court’s calendar, and it could take months or more than a year to have a case heard. Most couples don’t want to drag the divorce out and want to be free to move forward in as little time as possible. It’s true that sitting across the table from a soon-to-be former spouse might not be a picnic in the park, but it is probably less stressful than going to court.
When mediation might not work
If one partner sincerely believes he or she is not being treated fairly during negotiations at the mediation table, going to court might be the best way to resolve issues. If parents can’t agree on child custody and/or child support, an impartial family court judge may have to make those difficult decisions. Sometimes, there is no getting around having to be at the mercy of the court clock.
When mediation is successful, it is to the benefit of both parties. With the help of independent legal counsel, mediation may work even when the issues are contentious. In any case, a lawyer can carefully determine whether going to court is worth the time, stress and the expense based on a couple’s individual circumstances.