The Law Offices of John Ferrara

How Does The Mediation Process Compare To The Court Process In a Divorce Scenario?

Mediators try to assist spouses to reach agreements. They hope to save the spouses the time and expense that an adversarial divorce proceeding will invariably cost. They also hope to save the children from the emotional side effects of divorce. Those sound like really great things. I suspect that the same spouses who save money and expense through mediation, or who save their children the aggravation and uncertainty of trial probably would have achieved the same result by doing a separation agreement with lawyers. I doubt mediation instead of divorce drives the various problems between the parties or increases the expense and aggravation.

People who are inclined to settle will negotiate and compromise, regardless of whether the professional providing assistance is a mediator or a lawyer.

I do believe that a good lawyer is not trying to add conflict to the process. A good lawyer knows that the cost and expense of the divorce process are high, both financially and emotionally. A good lawyer wants to keep those expenses down. I truly believe that reasonable costs are actually in the lawyer’s self-interest. I don’t like to see very high legal fees that my clients (mostly middle-class people) cannot afford because it is not in my interest to have a huge account receivable that I’ll never collect. It is also in my client’s interest to try to keep the fees reasonable so that they can actually pay and settle the case. I don’t think that there are many lawyers who are really trying to inflate these costs because it’s not in their interest. Unfortunately, there are some cases in which the parties cannot negotiate a settlement, and they will have to go to trial. There are other cases in which the parties will give up a few things in exchange for other things that they need, as well as for peace and certainty. If that can be achieved, it is the best result for lawyers and litigants.

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