If you are unhappy in your marriage and have decided to divorce, there are many legal issues that have to be addressed as your marriage comes to an end. You will need to decide how decisions are going to be made on child custody, division of property, spousal and child support, and other key issues.
Many couples assume they will have to go to court. Since you and your ex cannot get along with each other, it seems logical to believe that a family court judge should be the one to settle your disputes over property, money, and custody.
The reality, however, is that a litigated divorce is almost always a bad idea and should be considered a last resort. Instead of litigating the issues that are raised by the end of your marriage, you should strongly consider mediation as long as there are no factors- such as domestic abuse- that would make mediation a bad idea.
If you decide you want a judge to decide on the issues applicable to your divorce, your divorce attorney will have to prepare the strongest possible case to argue for your preferred outcomes. Depending upon the circumstances, you may need to bring in expert witnesses and pay investigators to gather information. You have to pay for court time and fees as well. The costs of a litigated divorce can often be much greater than the costs of a divorce in which you and your spouse decide to use mediation to resolve your legal issues.
When you go before a judge, the judge will simply apply default laws on property division and default laws used to determine parenting time based on the best interests of the child. The judge does not know you, your kids, or your family situation. You and your ex have to just live with what the court decides, based on the limited information that the judge has available.
If you and your ex can work with a mediator, on the other hand, you are going to be able to think about the things that matter most to you and your loved ones. You can often create a plan that makes more sense for you and your family and that leaves everyone better off. Often, this process will also cost less than you would spend if you have to go to court, even though you have to pay for a mediator.
It may seem difficult to come to an agreement with someone who you are divorcing, but a mediator and your lawyer can help you to understand the law, put aside your emotions, and make informed choices for the good of your family and the future. With the right help, coming to an agreement is often possible and it is something that should be considered in many divorce cases.