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Litigation is by its nature adversarial. Moderated face-to-face conversations tend to be less adversarial. Although there still will be conflict. That conflict must be managed to have constructive negotiations. In mediation, you are not negotiating through an attorney, but directly will one another. This type of direct negotiation requires both sides to work together to achieve an agreement.
The court will impose decisions upon you. It will require that you adhere to certain standards, such as child support guidelines. Your ability to be creative in your agreement is limited. This removes decision making from your hands and neither of you may be happy with the results. By directly negotiating you may find common ground and render decisions that benefit you both. Once you entered the court room, the judge has ultimate authority.
The average time for a case to work its way through the court system is one year, depending on the jurisdiction, some are more. However, more than 98% of all cases are settled before trial. Do you want to waste this time? Your attorney can use the document from your mediation as the basis for a settlement agreement in an uncontested divorce, which greatly shortens the time to achieve a legal divorce.
If there are children in common, you will be in one another’s lives for some time to come. Working together in mediation may increase trust and the ability to work through future issues that arise. Remember, the person you are divorcing is still the father or mother of your children. If there aren’t any children, then there may be an issue of support. This will still create opportunities for conflict. Maintaining relationships that allows you to negotiate with one another in a civil way only benefits you both.