Divorce Mediation vs. Divorce Litigation: What’s the Difference?

When divorce become a reality, it’s common to feel anxious and stressed out. The situation may have been moving in this direction for some time, or it may have come up suddenly. No two situations are exactly alike, but one thing’s for sure: When the time comes to take real steps in making this change a reality, people often feel overwhelmed. Where do you start?

Many people assume that finding a lawyer and commencing divorce litigation is the only (or at least the most effective) option available to them. Tensions might be running high between divorcing partners. There is most likely property involved; and if children are in the picture, the prospect of custody disagreements can add a heightened level of stress and anxiety. What if my ex-partner tries to minimize my time with the children? What if we end up in a bitter divorce and custody battle? Aside from being stressful, it can be expensive and time-consuming.

Divorce mediation is a constructive alternative that many people don’t know about. But what is it, exactly? What are the real differences between divorce mediation and divorce litigation?

1. Cost

If you research the average cost of divorce litigation as compared to the cost of professional divorce mediation, you’ll definitely notice the difference. While most professional mediation efforts fall into a range between $500 and $2500, divorce litigation frequently surpasses the $30,000 mark. That’s a lot of money. Does divorce really have to be that costly?

2. Privacy

Divorce court often results in public records and agreements that are inflexible. Declaration and accusations filed in court become a matter of record. Judges, lawyers, and even members of the general public will be able to see details you might not want them to see. Mediation aims to keep the process of divorce out of the courts and out of the public eye — an outcome you’ll probably be thankful for in both the short and long term.

3. Goals

In litigation, the goal of each side is to maximize their own benefit at all costs. Divorce lawyers make their reputations by being harsh, unrelenting and aggressive. Each lawyer has one goal: To win on behalf of the client. In divorce mediation, the goals are completely different. A complete solution is sought — one in which both parties feel that they have been fairly treated in all respects (financially, emotionally, and in terms of parenting). Essentially, the goal of mediation is to find constructive solutions that work for everyone — not just one side.

Finding the right professional to guide you through

As you can imagine, going down the path of divorce mediation is only really effective if you work with an experienced, reputable, professionally trained mediator who understands the financial and emotional issues commonly involved in divorce — and who also knows that your situation is unique. Both litigation and mediation involve professional help. But in the case of mediation, you’re truly aiming for the most cooperative and mutually beneficial resolution possible — especially when children are involved. So if you’re considering divorce mediation, look for a highly-rated professional who is willing to discuss your details and explain how and why mediation might be a better solution for you.

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