Divorce is a difficult decision, no matter the circumstances. Every divorce is as unique as the individuals involved. Deciding to work with a divorce mediator or take legal action is a personal decision. Let’s cover some of the differences.
Keep reading below to learn more about divorce mediation vs. litigation.
This option is an approach used by couples who want to divorce in a way that allows the individuals to maintain control over their case without incurring the traditional expenses associated with settling their disputes through litigation.
What Is a Divorce Mediator, and What Is Their Role?
A mediator is appointed to help parties involved in a conflict come to an agreement. For example, the mediator in the case of divorce is an independent, neutral third-party attorney that will help both parties identify, negotiate, and reach a mutually acceptable agreement on all matters required to end their marriage outside of court.
The divorce mediator will actively participate in the mediation sessions, but the spouses will fully control the decisions. It is important to note that a divorce mediator does not represent the legal interest of either party, regardless of who pays for the mediator’s services.
Benefits of Divorce Mediation
- Divorce mediation is far more relaxed than attending a court hearing, offering couples a more comfortable, private, less stressful environment to work through their negotiations.
- Mediation helps couples maintain control of what happens. Many couples prefer not to have an unknown entity (a judge) make decisions that will impact their (and possibly their children’s) future.
- When both parties are active participants in the decision-making process, remaining compliant with any decisions like child or spousal support and parenting plans is more likely.
- Mediation saves time. With mediation, it is up to the couple to determine how the process progresses. Mediation is scheduled when it is convenient for the parties involved, as opposed to schedules set by the courts and attorneys.
- Mediation can save money by avoiding combined attorney’s fees required for discovery, trials, phone calls, etc.
- Mediation protects a couple’s privacy. With litigation, public records are available,
- Mediation can eliminate the sometimes-harmful emotional toll that divorce proceedings can have on extended families and children.
Mediation is an excellent option for couples who agree that finding fair and efficient resolutions to their disputes is the best approach for their situation.
Divorce litigation is the process of taking legal action and hiring a lawyer. Litigators are lawyers focusing on representing their client’s legal interests in court.
What Is the Process?
In divorce litigation, each party has their lawyer to represent their best interests. Many steps are involved in divorce litigation; these vary from county to county and couple to couple.
Each lawyer will negotiate on behalf of their client, and if they cannot reach an agreement, the divorce will carry on through the family court system. A family law judge or appointed hearing officer will ultimately decide the outcome regarding spousal support, division of marital assets and debts, as well as parenting time, child custody, and child support if children are involved.
Benefits of Divorce Litigation
When there is hostility between spouses and neither party is interested in collaborating on their settlement, couples typically end up in litigation. Having a lawyer represent your best interests can reduce stress if the divorce is particularly contentious. Additionally, mediation may not be appropriate in cases involving domestic violence.
Aside from divorce litigation sometimes being the only option, there are no significant benefits. Litigation will cost more, likely be more costly, time-consuming, remain emotionally draining, public, and ultimately, the court will oversee all the details, and someone else will decide the outcome.
What’s the Best Fit for You?
Whether to pursue divorce mediation vs. litigation depends on your unique situation. For confidential and compassionate legal advice to guide you through all facets of your divorce, contact Mette, Evans & Woodside, your local family law firm in Harrisburg, PA, for a consultation.