Divorce Mediation or Litigation: Which Option is Appropriate for Your Situation?

For some people, divorce is a confrontational experience. However, a lot of couples can work collaboratively on their divorce. If you are considering a divorce, you have some options, but you must understand the most appropriate process for your situation. It is important to get legal advice, so you can make informed decisions. If you weigh the benefits of divorce mediation and litigation, your attorney can apply how every method might work based on your case’s facts. To get optimal results, you must pick the right process. 

Divorce Mediation versus Litigation

In divorce mediation, a neutral third party will guide you and your spouse toward a result that you mutually accept. Because mediation is voluntary, it is not binding. Often, it occurs in an office, not in a courthouse. This is meant to help you reach a marital settlement that covers important divorce issues like property division, spousal support, child custody, and child support. This settlement will be presented to the family court for approval. Meanwhile, litigation is a court hearing in which you and your spouse present evidence to a judge to convince them that you have correct arguments to get a favorable ruling. 

The Role that a Divorce Mediator Plays

A divorce mediator will guide the discussions between you and your spouse, without giving legal advice. They set the session agenda and record the agreement points. If both parties reach a consensus, the mediator will help create a settlement agreement. You and your spouse must have your respective lawyers prepare you for mediation sessions and examine the agreement. 

Benefits of Mediation in Divorce

Divorce mediation is ideal for couples who disagree respectfully and can work together constructively. The benefits of this process include the following:

  • Time saving. Mediation allows the parties involved to work on their own schedule. 
  • Decreased costs. Mediation lets you save on trial-related expenses. If there is a need to hire a professional for their opinion, both parties can divide the cost.
  • Control over the outcome. With mediation, you and your spouse can decide the acceptable terms, without risking the court’s adverse ruling. 
  • Privacy. Discussions during mediation are confidential as opposed to discussions in court where they become a public record. 
  • Less stress. Often, working collaboratively leads to less emotional stress than confronting your spouse in court. 

However, mediation is not the right option for all divorces. A history of domestic violence and distrust will make mediation inappropriate. Litigating a divorce case provides you with extra benefits like subpoena power and court discipline. But litigation is often a last resort because it is costlier and more time-consuming than mediation. 

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