Divorce Mediation vs Litigation—What’s the Difference?

mediation divorce

When filing for divorce, your legal team’s primary goal is to help you and your estranged spouse reach an amicable agreement. There are several ways to come to an understanding that takes into account the rights of both parties. The two most common methods are divorce mediation or litigation. In some cases, mediation may be required, while litigation is necessary if both parties cannot settle the dispute independently. Which proceeding is necessary for your situation? Learn about both types of proceedings and which may be best for your case below.


What is divorce mediation?

Mediation is a legal process that allows two parties to meet, discuss issues, and resolve disputes without going to court. Mediation meetings are run by a skilled mediator, who is usually an attorney with special mediation training. A mediator should be an impartial third party who will not influence either side. Divorce mediation is mandatory for all Florida parental divorce cases filed in court. Once an agreement is made, it is signed by both parties and sent to a judge for approval. If the parties cannot agree, the case goes on to full-blown court proceedings.


Pros of mediation

Mediation is a legal way to reach an agreement with your estranged spouse without a courtroom or judge’s intervention. It is a structured meeting that allows both parties to share their desires and agree on the division of assets. Settling during mediation takes less time, is less expensive, and saves both parties a lot of emotional stress. The mediation process also allows both parties to have an equal say in the outcome of the case without having a judge decide the outcome.


Cons of mediation

The biggest con with going through mediation is that it does not always end in an amicable settlement. In that situation, the case must move to trial.


What is divorce litigation?

Litigation is the term used when a case goes to trial. In many cases, litigation happens after a mediation process where the parties could not agree. In some instances, such as high-conflict divorces with no children or abuse cases, a divorce proceeding can skip the mediation process and go right to trial with a Judge’s approval.


Pros of litigation

Litigation proceedings are most helpful when an agreement cannot be made. The judge has the final say in the case’s outcome. Litigation is beneficial for cases where getting the two parties in the same room to discuss their disputes is challenging.


Cons of litigation

Litigation takes much longer than mediation and is more expensive. The overall process of going to family court litigation during a divorce proceeding can take an emotional toll on family members, friends, and any children who may be involved.


Lake County divorce attorney

While our office does not directly provide mediation services, we can attend mediation sessions for both contested and uncontested divorce. Our experienced family law attorney Frank P. Remsen, P.A., handles divorce filings from Lake County, Orange County and  Seminole County. Call 407-993-2288 to speak with us today.