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What is the difference between divorce litigation and mediation?

If divorce is something that has been on your mind lately, take some time to consider the different ways to accomplish it. You may not realize it, but your separation does not have to play out the way you see divorces do on the screen. With the right amount of planning and some careful consideration of your circumstances and divorce goals, it is possible to achieve a favorable outcome without as much effort or inconvenience.

The separation process is not easy, nor is it a one-size-fits-all deal. Take some time to look over the differences between divorce litigation and mediation.


Litigation (traditional) is the most common method of divorce. It involves you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse filing a divorce petition in court to dissolve your marriage. To finalize your separation, the judge presiding over your case will need to assess your circumstances and apply the law as he or she deems fit. This can result in you not getting what you want out of your separation because a judge makes the decisions. It is also one of the most expensive methods of divorce because of the length of time and resources required, all at your expense.


Mediation is a bit different than a traditional divorce. First, it preserves your right to privacy. Unlike divorce litigation, which is public, everything that occurs in mediation is privy only to the participants (you, your ex-spouse and the mediator). You have the opportunity to make decisions on the outcome because you do not have to rely on the judge. Mediation can help to preserve your relationship with your spouse, which is beneficial if you have kids and need a co-parenting plan. It can also speed up the separation process because you and your partner negotiate your settlement with the assistance of a skilled and impartial mediator.

Keep in mind that mediation is only beneficial if you and your ex-spouse voluntarily work together to negotiate a fair settlement. A judge must review and sign off on your agreement before it becomes your divorce settlement.

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