Peaceful Divorce

The Difference Between Litigation and Mediation: It's Personal

People have a range of preconceptions about divorce, the law, and the courts. In reality, going before a judge to air your grievances about your soon-to-be ex-spouse is rarely as satisfying as movies and television shows may have you believe. Mediation offers a private, cost-efficient alternative to litigation—but before you choose either venue, there are some guiding principles to keep in mind:

  1. Don't expect to “win” your divorce. People hope to beat their spouses in court, but seldom is there a winner in divorce.
  2. Don't make decisions without thinking them through. You're going to make life-changing decisions during this time, so resist impulsive reactions.
  3. You're getting divorced, not your children. Don't put the children in the middle or use them as pawns and messengers between yourselves.
  4. Don't believe everything you hear from other people. All divorces have different sets of issues. Rely on the advice you get from your professionals.
  5. Forget the past and prepare for the future. Don't get hung up on small matters.

Once you’ve mastered these five steps, you will be in a place to make a more informed decision about how you should proceed with your divorce. The reasons you may want to choose mediation to settle your divorce include:

  • It can be less costly: Most of the time you will only need to meet with one mediation professional.
  • You get more personal attention: Mediation allows each party to speak, and be heard, individually.
  • Greater confidentiality: Meetings are private and not held in a courtroom where the public can hear everything.
  • Flexibility: You can meet at times that work for you as opposed to being told when your court date is.
  • Mediation protects your children from conflicts: In litigation, children may be required to appear in court, whereas in mediation the focus is going to be on the welfare of the children.
  • Mediation offers more opportunity: The voluntary aspect of mediation means that couples can go above and beyond the law in order to tailor plans that suit their needs.
  • Mediation allows for greater post-divorce stability: Specifically tailored financial and custody arrangements make it less likely that any post-divorce modifications will need to be made to your agreement.

You tell me: Doesn't mediation make more sense than litigation?

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