Divorce Mediation can Yield Better Outcomes at a Much Lower Cost than Divorce Litigation
Ask anyone who’s going through divorce and almost 100% of them will tell you divorce challenging. More than 50% of them will tell you it’s extremely difficult. And, more than 20% of the divorcing men and women you ask will tell you that their divorce is ruining their lives. How do I know this? Well, before entering the world of divorce myself, I interviewed hundreds of divorced and divorcing people to assess the divorce landscape, to get a glimpse into my future. During those interviews, the terms I heard over and over about divorce were emotionally draining, expensive, contentious, stressful, and even frightening.
So, I dug a little deeper to understand why divorces consistently cause so much misery and what could be done to mitigate that misery. I learned three important things. First, the process of getting divorced (versus being divorced) typically causes most of the misery. Second, the contentiousness of the divorce process is often a determining factor in the level of peace a couple can achieve after divorce. And, third, the number one factor in creating peace during both the divorce process and in divorce is perspective. For those who can find the right perspective, divorcing and divorce can be inexpensive and peaceful.
(I ultimately wrote a book and created a video on how to have a peaceful divorce called Thriving in Divorce.)
So, what does all this have to do with divorce mediation? Well, as soon as both parties lawyer-up and litigation begins, it’s really easy to lose perspective. Why? With the best of intentions, opposing lawyers intensify conflict. They shift the mentalities of the parties from seeking a fair result to seeking a victory. Suddenly, molehills become mountains, the most trivial matters become battlegrounds. Before you know it, you will have given a big piece of your savings to your lawyers to gain no additional ground. Worse yet, you and your ex may have crossed a confrontational line that you cannot come back from, you’ve reached a place where you and your ex can never find peace, even for the sake of your children.
With these things in mind, here are a few pieces of information that will help you gain some perspective.
- Peace. Children need peace between their divorcing parents.
- Results. Divorce mediation can produce much better results than divorce litigation at a much lower cost.
- Rule of 72. If you have kids, you should consider the Rule of 72. This rule essentially enables you to predict how long it will take for money you’ve invested to double. You can do this by dividing 72 by your rate of return. For example, if you get an annual return of 8.5%, your money will double every 8 ½ years or so. So, if instead of spending $20,000 on your lawyer in a contentious divorce, you mediate for $4,000, you’ll have $16,000 to invest for your kids’ retirement. If you have two kids who are 10 and 12 years old, with an annual return of 8 ½%, your money will double six times before your kids turn 65 years old. If you double $16,000 six times you get over $1Million, an amount your two kids will be able to split for their retirement.
Overall, the reason I am such a huge divorce mediation enthusiast is because I lived through the process as a client, and my divorce mediation yielded fairness and peace with my ex that still exists today. Simply, I believe in divorce mediation because it works.