Mediate or Litigate

The divorce process is often depicted as a litigious affair that ends up being battled out in court. In reality, at least 90% of divorces in the U.S. are uncontested and the parties manage to reach an agreement as to the terms of their divorce without the need for a judge to decide these matters for them.

When a marriage ends the parting couple will have to decide on the most appropriate divorce route for them. This usually begins by deciding whether the divorce will be a contested or uncontested one. The former route will usually be litigated in court while the latter provides several options, including mediation.

For more information, consider arranging a free consultation with this Denver divorce lawyer. This article will examine some of the main differences between these two methods of divorce to help you make an informed decision regarding your divorce.

What is Mediation?

This uncontested divorce process is typically undertaken willingly by both parties. Here, a trained, third-party mediator will help the parting couple negotiate the main terms of their divorce and come to a mutually acceptable agreement.

This neutral party will not make any decisions on behalf of the couple but will rather facilitate communication between them in a constructive manner, helping them explore their options and reach common ground on all salient points.

Without a judge making rulings, the divorcing couple has more control over the final decision and can find solutions that work for them both. Mediation also offers privacy to the couple as the terms of their agreement will remain confidential. As the parties are willing to reach an agreement, this is also a less time-consuming and inexpensive way to divorce compared to other paths.

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What is Litigation?

A divorce is settled in court, or litigated, when the couple cannot agree on many of the issues relating to their divorce such as the division of assets, custody of children, and financial support. This contested path is also the most expensive, lengthy, and contentious type of divorce process a couple can choose.

Litigation is common in cases where there is hostility or conflict between the couple or an inability to work together to solve their issues through other means such as mediation or collaborative divorce.

What is the Right Option For You?

Ultimately, the right option will depend on the circumstances of each couple, however, below are some considerations to keep in mind when making your decision:

  • Cost: Mediation is suitable for couples looking for a cost-effective divorce.
  • Confidentiality: A litigated divorce is a matter of public record whereas a mediated one will remain confidential.
  • Control: Mediation offers the couple greater freedom to negotiate and decide on the terms of their divorce while litigation leaves these matters in the hands of a judge.
  • Emotional impact: As it is non-contentious, mediation is generally less emotionally challenging than litigation which can be bitter and adversarial.
  • Timing: As both parties go into it willingly, mediation is usually less time-consuming than litigation which can be a lengthy affair ranging from a few months to several years.

With a better understanding of these two types of divorce options, you can make an informed decision as to the right path for you.

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