The Difference Between Divorce Litigation and Mediation

By Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorney in orange county; California Divorce MediationThere are two ways in which you can go about your divorce settlement. First, you can get your lawyers to duke it out, getting into the nitty gritty of every dirty secret, use everything you have against each other, and finally try to rip off the other party as much as possible, completely destroying ties and any semblance of a relationship at the end of the lengthy, arduous, legal battle. The other option is to have one neutral person sit down, with the two parties across the table, each laying their arguments forward in a civil manner, let logic do the talking and part ways amicably.

That is the first and probably the most important difference between divorce litigation and mediation. Litigation involves two separate lawyers, both with their own vested interests, but divorce mediation involves only one person trying to help you sort out your assets and properties.

Here are a few more differences between litigation and divorce mediation:

  • Confidentiality of the agreed terms
    Litigation involves open court, so there will be court records, open to the public every detail will be put on paper for any one to read. Mediation is a closed, confidential process. While it may happen in a court premises, it is a closed door meeting between two parties. The records will be sealed off for good.
  • Time and cost
    Litigation is a court proceeding, it will take as long as it takes, sometimes months, sometimes years. Mediation will only last as long as the couple want it to last, it most cases, it will be over in an afternoon. Costs are also accordingly varied, the longer it takes, the more it will cost, obviously.
  • Fate of the children
    If there are children involved in the case, the court decides who is awarded the child and how the visitation is planned out. Mediation simply lets the parents decide for themselves.

What should you choose?

While there is a time and place where litigation is the only way, such extreme cases are pretty much the only times you should go for it. Mediation is fast becoming increasingly popular, as, let’s face it, not everyone has the time, money, interest, or even the motivation to go through a lengthy court battle. Moreover, it often makes no sense to drag each other through the mud with a messy divorce, you have already gone through enough.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation