By nature, we generally do not respond well when we are told what to do. Think about your kids. Or imagine yourself in your younger years. Parents tell their kids to clean their room, eat their vegetables, or do their homework. Generally, kids resent being told what to do. Adults are just the same – we want to have a say in the decisions that affect us. Divorce is no different. The numbers shared below shouldn’t come as a surprise given our understanding about human nature, and yet I found myself amazed by these statistics and how strongly they support the human need to have input into our decisions.
- Divorce timeline: mediation vs. litigation. In general, those who take the path of using attorneys may find that process taking up to 2 years (sometimes longer) to complete. Average time to finalize a mediated divorce? Three months (Zephyr Legal Services, 2014). The difference extends to much more than just time. There is the cost of continuing to pay attorney fees over two years, the inability to get lives back on track, and instability for family members and friends during this extended time.
- Child support compliance. There are interesting statistics regarding compliance rates of mediated vs. litigated divorces (Linder Mediation, n.d.) indicating that for those divorces settled via mediation, 80% are compliant with the child support agreement. In stark and dramatic contrast, of those agreements that are the result of a litigated child support settlement, just 40% comply. Let that number digest for a moment. Not only does litigation have the potential to take considerably more time (and money) to arrive at an agreement, but once there is one, the chance that it will be adhered to is a more 40%.
- Parent/child contact post-divorce. When it comes to the contact a non-residential parent will have with their child over time, statistics from a study performed by Dr. Robert Emery (Emery, n.d.) are fascinating. Approximately 28% of non-resident parents who mediated their divorce saw their children after 12 years while just 9% of non-resident parents who litigated saw their children after the same time period. The difference is much more profound when it comes to telephone contact. Of non-resident parents who mediated their divorce, 52% talked to their children after 12 years while a startlingly low 14% of non-residential parents who litigated their divorce had telephone contact after the same period of time.
Links to articles cited are included below. Take a moment and review them. Once you have, feel free to contact me with questions and I will be glad to help guide you to a non-litigated solution that will pave the way for a healthier future.
Linder Mediation. (n.d.). https://lindermediation.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Effects-of-Mediation-Fact-Sheet.pdf