Marriage stands as one of the oldest institutions in the world, and by tradition, it is designed to unite a man and woman into a single household that will raise children. Today, some nations have also legalized same-sex marriage, and such households often adopt children. Another recent trend is increasing rates of divorce, and there are many reasons why two spouses might choose to legally end their marriage. Should this happen, a spouse may face the question: should you mediate your divorce, as in hire divorce mediators, or hire divorce attorneys to help? There are reasons to take each route, as some divorces are larger in scale than others and may have more that the spouses are fighting over. Knowing “should you mediate your divorce?” vs “do I need a lawyer?” can make all the difference.
What might drive someone to end their entire marriage? Many surveys and statistics are tracking marriage and divorce in the United States, and some trends have emerged from all this data. Among all reasons to seek divorce, infidelity is the most common, when one spouse is unfaithful to the other and gets caught in the act. Men and women are known to cheat, though no always for the same reason, and finding out that your spouse is seeing someone else can be a real emotional blow. If marriage counseling does not fix the situation, then divorce lawyers might be next.
Other spouses seek divorce because their spouse is abusing drugs and alcohol, and this can lead to a serious financial strain, loss of a job, health issues, and personality changes. And whether or not substance abuse is involved, a spouse may start acting abusive toward their household members, such as violence, constant verbal abuse, or even sexual abuse.
Not all divorces are quite so dramatic, however. Some Americans seek divorce for simpler (but no less valid) reasons such as a lack of personal compatibility. Or, the two spouses might have very different spending habits or lifestyles. Often, these low-key divorces might involve divorce mediators to help out, rather than expensive lawyers and a lengthy divorce court case.
It is important to know whether mediators or lawyers are needed, and answering the question “should you mediate your divorce?” is helpful. For those not familiar, a divorce mediator is a neutral third party whose job is to ensure constructive and fair communication between the spouses during a divorce. In this scenario, the spouses are negotiating with each other over the divorce’s terms, rather than hiring lawyers and going to court. So, that mediator keeps the conversation productive, and draws out good ideas from each spouse. This mediator will not take sides, and the mediator also will not offer their own ideas or suggestions unless they are asked first. Mediators may be popular for smaller-scale divorces where lawyers are not even needed. What is more, mediators are often cheaper than lawyers anyway, and this whole process is more private than going through a divorce court.
Larger divorces may call for attorneys, from divorce lawyers to child custody or child support attorneys. When one spouse has resolved to get a divorce, that person will seek out local divorce law firms to find and hire a lawyer who is to their liking. They will then file the proper paperwork, and the other spouse may very well hire their own lawyer to legally defend their interests. Often, the two spouses might communicate mainly through their lawyers and might not come face to face often. This may be the case if one spouse is being abusive toward the other, and the abused one relocates to a different, secret residence (and may take their children with them).
Through their lawyers, the spouses may battle over assets such as bank accounts, cars, RVs, a house or vacation house, or even family jewelry or a privately owned business. Children under 18 will need custody, and this is why child custody lawyers may be hired. While nothing can be guaranteed here, a spouse in a divorce might be more likely to win custody of a child if they have a stable income and have not demonstrated any abusive behavior.