Mediation vs. Litigation
Even under the most ideal circumstances, a divorce can be painful and overwhelming. The former couple is dealing with the emotions of a broken relationship while also navigating the legal system. Assets must be divided as fairly as possible, and all of the necessary paperwork must be kept track of and filed at the correct time.
That process would be overwhelming for nearly anyone but is made much more difficult if there is also conflict between the former spouses. In those situations, there are two routes that can be followed. Couples who cannot agree on a resolution may choose to litigate the divorce and allow the courts to make all the final decisions about the case. Those who are open to negotiation and a fair divorce may choose to mediate. It is essential to choose the path that works best for you.
What Is Litigation?
In some divorce cases, it is impossible for the former spouses to reach an agreement on their own. There may be conflicting ideas about how assets should be divided, or the relationship between the parties is volatile. In these situations, one party will file a complaint with the courts and request that a judge make all final decisions to finalize the divorce.
This process is time-consuming and often much more expensive. There are several specific steps that must be completed, including a trial overseen by a judge, before the divorce can be finalized. Litigation also strips some privacy away from the involved parties because any information shared during the discovery stage will become public record, including financial information. If it is possible, mediation is a preferable choice.
What Is Mediation?
Unlike litigation, mediation allows the divorcing parties to have the final say in the details of their divorce settlement. This process is also referred to as “alternative dispute resolution,” or ADR. If a couple chooses to pursue mediation, they will choose a neutral third party, called the mediator, to help them navigate the divorce process. This person will provide the necessary guidance and information to finalize the divorce as fairly and easily as possible. Once an agreement has been reached and all the details have been settled, the divorce can be finalized.
The Benefits of Mediation
Although there may still be disagreement surrounding topics such as the division of assets or spousal support, mediation provides a neutral space for those conflicts to be resolved in a healthy way. Choosing to go through mediation also allows the divorcing couple to have more control over the process itself because they can schedule on their own rather than waiting for court dates.
The mediation process is often more cost-effective because it takes significantly less time, so there are not as many fees to pay. It can also provide individuals with significantly more privacy because information is not required to be made public. Mediation is a great option for people who want to maintain as much control over their divorce as possible while resolving it as quickly and painlessly as possible.
How to Approach Contested Meditation
While mediation can certainly make the divorce process much easier, it does not guarantee that there will be no conflict. The former couple may still disagree on certain decisions, but with mediation, they are afforded a safe space to process those feelings and find a fair resolution. If both partners are willing to enter into a discussion and negotiate fairly, then the process can move much more smoothly.
Q: What Is Litigation?
A: Litigation is the process of asking the courts to decide the outcome of a divorce. This happens when the spouses are unable to agree on the terms and details of the divorce. A complaint must be filed with the courts, and then there will typically be a trial that is decided by a family court judge. Litigation is often much more expensive and takes a much longer time to be completed. It is not uncommon for a litigated divorce to take a year or longer to be finalized.
Q: What Is Mediation?
A: Mediation is when a couple that is divorcing works with a neutral third party to finalize their divorce. This is often referred to as “alternative dispute resolution.” The neutral third party, called the mediator, does not make any final decisions in the process. Rather, they help the involved parties decide what course of action meets their needs best. This process is often more cost-effective and takes less time than litigation. An experienced family law attorney can help you feel prepared and supported during the mediation process.
Q: Is Litigation or Mediation Better?
A: There is not necessarily a better option when it comes to deciding between mediation and litigation. The final decision will be determined by individual circumstances and relationships. For couples that can be civil and have productive discussions, mediation can be a great option to complete the divorce as easily as possible. Other couples, however, may not be able to have civil discussions or meetings, so litigation will be their best course of action. It is always best to choose the process that meets your needs.
Q: What If Mediation Is Contested?
A: Choosing to complete mediation does not guarantee that the divorce process will be without conflict, but rather that both parties are willing to negotiate. There may still be difficult discussions and arguments while the details of the divorce are being finalized. In those instances, it is important to have proper support and guidance. Working with a knowledgeable family law attorney and an experienced mediator can give you peace of mind throughout the mediation process, regardless of any difficulties that arise.
Expert Mediation From Bickford Blado & Botros
Working through a divorce can be overwhelming, even in the best of circumstances. There are many steps and requirements that must be met, and the process can be time-consuming. It is essential that you have proper guidance through the process, whether you choose to pursue litigation or mediation. Contact the experts at Bickford Blado & Botros today if you are considering a divorce and need assistance.
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