Thursday, April 3, 2008

Mediation and Litigation - Understanding the Financial Differences between the Two

In case you didn’t know, it is extremely important to know the specific laws in your area and the various documents that will be required if you are preparing for divorce. In addition, you may find that it is not economically feasible for you to choose a divorce attorney to dissolve a marriage. In fact, you may find that hiring a divorce attorney to represent you would be the absolute worst ideas for you. Here’s why:

All too often, divorce attorneys will use the term “dispute resolution” differently than most of us do. A perfect case in point, I recently spoke with a well-known and high-priced divorce attorney and asked her, “How do you decide which cases to accept?”

She replied, “It all depends on the assets involved in the case.” When I probed further and asked what she meant by that, she said, “I don’t ever take a case unless there’s a half-million dollars in assets involved. Then, I can tell you exactly who’s going to get those assets.”

I wondered aloud how she could possibly tell in advance who was going to get the assets in such a case, and she told me, “If there’s $500,000 in assets, I’ll get $125,000, the other attorney will get $125,000, and the parties will split the remaining $250,000.”

So of course I asked how could she predict that so completely when she answered, “Don’t you understand? All I have to do is get the fight going, and that’s how it will end up.”

As you can clearly see, using an attorney isn't always the best choice for every situation, especially in situations where there aren’t a lot of assets.

In fact, the financial differences between handling your own divorce, hiring an attorney, or hiring a divorce mediator can be substantial. In most every single instance, a mediator will be able to guide the couple toward a favorable agreement with the lowest total cost for both parties.

Plus, the rates and fees of all legal professionals may vary, often the retainer alone for two attorneys is comparable to a few sessions with a mediator, and depending on the complexity of your case, may be all that's really necessary.

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