Most divorcing couples find that they are in a period of high conflict. Some have experienced constant arguments and fights for months or years; some are reacting to a sudden change of heart. However they arrive at the decision, a couple who has decided to divorcce did not reach the decision lightly. Reaching the decision to divorce should be the be the hardest part of the decision - not the process of working out the terms of the the divorce.
Regardless of the circumstances and presentation, conflict between divorcing partners exists and is often seemingly impossible to navigate. Most often impending divorce results in a traditional type of intervention: retaining attorneys and asking them to resolve the issues, however divorce mediation is a better option for the vast majority of couples and families.
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Two of the many potential pitfalls to traditional legal intervention (also known as litigation):
- Control - Traditional legal intervention tends to put the control of the outcome in the hands of the lawyers as opposed to those living with the outcome (the divorcing couple). However, every relationship is unique and what works for one divorcing couple will not necessarily be the best solution of another - how can divorce attorneys know what is the best solution for the divorcing couple? Divorce attorneys focus on the ingredients of the conflict, as they are supposed to, not on the people, emotions, and dynamics involved; this often increases the conflict as opposed to resolving the conflict.
Cost - Traditional legal intervention is often quite costly. Most attorneys require a significant retainer (often $2000 or more) from the person they will be representing at the point of hire. An attorney can only represent one spouse, therefore each person has to retain his or her own attorney. That means a minimum of $4000 for a couple just to start the divorce settlement. It is not uncommon for relatively simple cases to quickly escalate to thousands of dollars per person.
Divorce Mediation on the other hand is an excellent option for the vast majority of couples who find themselves splitting up - even couples not married in the traditional sense. Most total mediation costs for a divorce are less than a single attorney retainer. Most divorcing couples are able to resolve conflicts entirely through mediation at a fraction of the cost of traditional divorce. For those who cannot find resolution through mediation - traditional legal invention through divorce attorneys is always available.