Divorce Mediation: A Cost-Effective and Less-Adversarial Alternative to Litigation

Divorces are emotionally taxing and require spouses to make key decisions on how to move forward apart.

Most people believe that going to court (litigation) is the only route when getting a divorce. However, there is another approach that is often missed: mediation. Divorce mediation allows spouses the opportunity to resolve their issues without having them unfold in court. Like most things, there are pros and cons to every approach.

Understanding these pros and cons can help spouses make educated decisions during divorce.

Mediation: Finding Common Ground

Most people do not even consider mediation when considering a divorce. However, mediation has gained much traction as an alternative dispute resolution. In a mediation, a neutral party, known as a mediator, assists the spouses in reaching a settlement that suits both parties. Mediation offers several benefits that can make the divorce process smoother and less confrontational, including the following:

  1. Control: Spouses retain control over the process instead of a judge, which leads to more fulfilling outcomes.
  2. Confidentiality: In mediation, spouses can freely discuss their issues in privacy. Reaching an agreement without court records can be a benefit to each spouse.
  3. Collaboration: Mediation supports a collaborative atmosphere, unlike litigation. Mediation allows for open dialogue and negotiation.
  4. Tailored Solutions: In mediation, spouses can get as creative as they want. Mediation can result in personalized solutions that meet each spouse’s needs.
  5. Faster Resolution: Mediation often results in quicker resolutions compared to litigation.

While mediation is an effective resolution method for some situations, but it may not be feasible in some situations. For instance, if there is a significant power disparity in the relationship or if a spouse is reluctant to collaborate, it may be a challenge to come to a mutual agreement through mediation. In this case, litigation may be unavoidable.

Litigation: Advocating in the Courtroom

LitigationLitigation is the common way of settling issues in a divorce proceeding. Each spouse will hire an attorney to present their case to the court.

While there are pros to mediation, there are also pros to litigation discussed below:

  • Structure: The legal process is complex. When litigating, the court enforces a structured process involving rules for each side.
  • Enforcement: Once you receive a court order from a judge, those orders are more easily enforceable than mediation agreements.

It is important to note that while litigation has advantages like the ones listed above, it also has its cons. One of the main negatives associated with litigation is the high costs.

Litigation can get expensive fast.

Some other common cons to litigation include increased stress and lack of control of the outcome.

Deciding What’s Right for You: Mediation vs. Litigation

Mediation and litigation are both viable approaches to a divorce. It is upon you to assess which approach would suit your situation best. When deciding whether to pursue mediation or litigation, consider the following factors:

  • Cost: Litigation is often more expensive than mediation.
  • Relationship: Mediation may be the best solution if you and your spouse can communicate healthily. However, litigation may be the only answer if you cannot communicate appropriately.
  • Complexity: The more complex your divorce is, the more litigation becomes feasible. Some issues are so complex that litigation is necessary to ensure a fair result.
  • Time: Mediation normally yields a faster result compared to the long, drawn-out judicial process.
  • Support: Consulting with a divorce attorney, such as the attorneys at Hale Robinson & Robinson, can help you understand the pros and cons of litigation and mediation

Collaborative Approach to Divorce

It is understandable that spouses who are considering a divorce likely have a contentious relationship. However, I would suggest that spouses try to work together to ensure each party walks away satisfied. If you and your spouse can work together, the benefits of mediation are vast. If you can take a collaborative approach to your divorce, you will leave with a healthier relationship with your ex-spouse.

This is especially true when there are children involved.

Act Now

Navigating the divorce process can be challenging, but choosing the right approach can significantly affect the outcome. At Hale Robinson & Robinson, our team of skilled divorce attorneys is dedicated to helping spouses reach their goals. Contact us for a free lawyer consultation to discuss your case and learn more about mediation or litigation.

by Rico Robinson

Owner and Managing Partner, at Hale Robinson & Robinson.