What’s the difference between divorce mediation and litigation?

On Behalf of | Dec 26, 2023 | Divorce Mediation

If you’re contemplating a divorce, it’s crucial to understand that there isn’t a one-fits-all solution for the dissolution of marriage. You’ll need to identify your priorities and acknowledge your unique circumstances before deciding on how you want to proceed.

With that said, you should know that you don’t necessarily have to bring your disputes to court to secure a favorable divorce settlement. Aside from a litigated divorce, you can opt for a negotiated or mediated divorce. Understanding the differences between these approaches can help to better ensure that you can make an informed decision as you embark on this life-altering transition.

What is divorce mediation?

Divorce mediation is a collaborative, non-adversarial method of resolving marital disputes. A neutral third party, known as a mediator, facilitates communication between the divorcing parties to reach a mutually agreeable resolution. One of the distinctive features of mediation is its voluntary nature. Both parties willingly participate in the process, fostering a sense of ownership over the decisions made during the mediation sessions.

Mediation emphasizes open communication and encourages spouses to express their concerns and preferences. The mediator guides discussions, helping ensure that both parties have the opportunity to voice their perspectives.

What is divorce litigation?

In contrast, divorce litigation involves a more adversarial process, where each party brings their disputes to court. Litigation becomes necessary when mediation fails or is unsuitable for the situation.

The process commences when one spouse files a formal divorce complaint; this initiates the legal divorce proceedings. Moreover, the adversarial nature of litigation can intensify conflict and strain relationships, especially when children are involved. Additionally, divorce litigation tends to be more expensive due to legal fees, court costs and the extended duration of the process, which is another why most couples try to avoid this approach unless their circumstances demand it.

The choice between divorce mediation and litigation hinges on individual circumstances. While mediation promotes collaboration and cost-effectiveness, litigation may be necessary for complex or highly contested cases. Couples should carefully evaluate their situation and enlist legal counsel to determine the most suitable path for their unique circumstances.