For many, the thought of a divorce conjures up an ugly court battle over assets and family, and the vision of this can be terrifying. In truth, most divorces are settled outside of court, with only about 5 percent of cases going to trial. This percentage is true in my sate of Maine as well, with about 96% being settled without a court trial.
How can you avoid the cost and emotional stress of a court trial? A few things to consider.
1. If you can, try to work out as many details of your settlement as you can directly with your soon to be ex. A civil conversation discussing the important issues will help both of you for when the formal settlement is drafted. Bringing these resolved issues to your attorney(s) will make their job easier and save you both money.
2. A mediator can also help with a discussion between the two of you and help you to come up with a plan. The role of a mediator is to remain neutral and to help to find solutions. They are professionally trained in mediation and know how to problem solve while dealing with potentially emotional clients.
Depending on your personal divorce and your state, a mediator can help you and your partner talk through the issues in your divorce and help draft your settlement plan before having it reviewed by an attorney. Some attorneys are also trained mediators. Generally speaking, the fees for a mediator are often less than working with an attorney because you and your soon to be ex are both at the table together, working to find the best resolution.
3. One of the most common mistakes people make in divorce is having to be right, the ‘my way or the highway’ approach to a divorce. We will go into more detail on this in a later post, but remember that divorce is not a competition. You are trying to now create your new life on your own, and the anger and bitterness that will follow you if you try to ‘win’ will impact you for a long time. This is a hard pill, I know, but if for no other reason remember as well that by working towards a solution with your spouse, you will also have more money to do your new life right.