As you begin the divorce process, you may be unsure whether or not divorce mediation is the best option for your needs. This is an option for settling out of court with guidance from a professional mediator.

Litigation, on the other hand, takes your divorce to an attorney who will handle negotiations. 

It often ends up at trial, where a judge will assess the situation using evidence to make a final decision on issues like child custody, financial support, and more. 

How will you choose the option that’s right for you? This comprehensive read covers the basics of mediation and litigation so you can weigh your best options.

What is Divorce Mediation?

Divorce mediation allows you to settle out of court. This means you’ll reach an agreement independently of a judge by collaborating with your spouse with the help of a mediator.

This is an informal process and nothing in your discussion is legally binding. However, by the end of mediation, you will have created a tentative agreement that will later become your legal settlement.

Your mediator will guide the discussion and help you stay on track. When you’re talking about intense topics with your ex, it’s easy to get sidetracked by your feelings. A good mediator will keep the conversation focused and help the two of you communicate.

During mediation, the two of you will decide the outcome of your divorce together. It may sound uncomfortable, but your mediator is trained to help you work through your discomfort and have productive conversations.

Mediation aims to help the two of you make decisions about your divorce so you can create a settlement out of court. This will save time, money, and stress.

After you reach an agreement, you’ll need to hire a lawyer to draft it in legal terms, and then you can file it at the courthouse. Instead of letting a judge create your settlement, you can do it yourself.

What is Litigation?

Litigation is what happens when a couple decides to take their divorce to the legal system instead of settling it themselves. They will have to turn the issues they can’t agree upon over to the court, and a judge will make the final decision.

You’ll need to hire a lawyer to represent you and argue on your behalf, which usually results in more legal fees than mediation.

For some couples, litigation is maybe the best option. If you strongly suspect your spouse is hiding assets or otherwise not being transparent, you may need the power of a court investigation to reach a fair decision.

The discovery stage of a trial lasts for months and unearths financial records, legal records, and even communication. If one person has hidden assets, they will likely be uncovered during this stage.

Mediation isn’t a legal process, and it depends heavily on both participants being honest. If someone wants to hide assets or omit information when you convene, they can do so easily.

If your relationship with your spouse isn’t conducive to open conversation, or you are unable to agree on a settlement, litigation is a potential option. 

What is the Difference Between Mediation and Litigation?

In mediation, a couple solves problems between themselves with the help of a trained mediator. They’ll spend time discussing their wants and needs, and the mediator will facilitate compromises.

A mediator will help the couple find common ground and make important decisions about their finances and other factors. They will need to agree on the outcome, but each person has an equal say in it.

Litigation, on the other hand, leaves the major decisions up to the court and the judge for your trial. Each person can present evidence, and hire lawyers to make a case for their interests, but ultimately the decision is out of your hands.

Litigation is more costly and moves more slowly as well. For most couples, it isn’t their first choice. Some situations are a poor fit for mediation, whether they’re a case of abusive relationships or the couple simply cannot agree.

There’s a major difference between mediation and litigation, and each option serves an important purpose. The best option depends on your unique situation and your relationship with your spouse.

Is Divorce Mediation a Better Alternative to Divorce Litigation?

Divorce mediation is a popular alternative to litigation for several reasons. It’s more convenient and makes it easier for the couple to control the outcome of their divorce.

Mediation is also much more affordable than going through divorce litigation. Legal fees add up quickly, and the latter can sprawl out over several months or even a year. You’ll need to pay a lawyer, and there’s a good chance you’ll incur other fees as well.

By contrast, mediation requires a few meeting sessions. Some mediators even charge a flat fee for the entire process from start to finish. With a little searching, it’s possible to find affordable divorce mediation, Newport Beach has to offer.

Mediation gives you more control over the divorce process, as well as the outcome. If it’s important to you to be involved in the decision-making process, mediation is a good fit.

Even if you and your spouse often struggle to communicate, mediation is still possible. A skilled mediator will relieve tension and make it possible for the two of you to focus on solving problems. 

Find the Right Divorce Mediation for Your Case

Your mediator can help you stay focused on each concern until the two of you come to a compromise that both of you can live with. At the end of the process, you will have a divorce agreement that reflects both of your best interests.

We specialize in helping couples create a divorce settlement in a timely manner. Our staff includes attorneys and mental health experts who can provide valuable help throughout the mediation process.

For a free consultation, contact us at Divorce Mediation of California today!