When divorce becomes an inevitability, most couples are able to negotiate a settlement agreement without their case going to a formal trial: in more than nine out of 10 cases, the question of division of assets and the care and custody of the children, if there are any involved, is settled relatively quickly and amicably.
The rate of divorce is a bit lower than most people believe: about one in three first marriages does end in divorce after a decade, which is lower than the 50% divorce rate that is often reported in popular media. About 3 million parents divorce on a yearly basis, and many are required to take a parenting class that relates to future care and custody of the children.
It can take about 12 months to obtain a divorce, and rules governing child support and the distribution of marital property do vary from state to state. Many couples do turn to a professional neutral mediator, who can listen to both sides and help them come to a mutually-satisfying agreement regarding issues such as custody and division of property.
Although about four out of 5 divorce cases are initiated by a single party rather than by mutual agreement, more than six out of 10 couples who make use of a mediator’s services did report being pleased with the outcome. Mediation can allow both parties to set a time limit, and most mediation cases are not closed until the former couple can come to a firm agreement on all terms.
The average divorce can cost up to $30,000, taking into consideration attorneys’ fees and court costs: many couples delay filing until they can afford it and try to work out care and custody arrangements for the children themselves.
If an amicable resolution is discovered, then the couple is more likely to settle the divorce quickly and perhaps out-of-court. However, in divorce cases where there is a struggle for custody or for division of assets, a mediator or an experienced divorce attorney may need to become involved to assure a positive outcome.