It is important to understand that even if you go through the court system, you will likely be required to use an Alternative Dispute Resolutions (ADR) process like mediation before taking up the court’s time in trial. Courts routinely require this to help ease their ever-growing dockets, and it has proven to work very well. Over 90% of cases filed with a court settle either on their own or through the use of an ADR method. Historically, however, mediation and other useful ADR processes are not employed until just before trial. But if you wait until you participate in the court-ordered mediation as a last minute effort to settle the week before trial, you’re likely to miss out on ADR’s benefits. By then, the damage to your relationship with your soon-to-be ex-spouse has been done- your children will have been through the turmoil of litigation, the lawyers will have been paid, and that money is gone.
Knowing you are going to participate at least in mediation no matter what route you decide to take, why not try it now? The worst that could happen is that you fail to resolve the issues and you go about your divorce through the courts. You could also settle some, if not all, of your issues and table those remaining issues after you get more information and head back to mediation. The best thing that could happen is you settle your case with less conflict and without spending great sums of money.