Mediation vs. Litigation: Which Path Is Right for You?

You or your spouse has decided that it’s best if you get a divorce. Once a divorce has been decided upon, you need to decide whether you should enter mediation or litigation. This can be a tough decision. Often lawyers perform both roles, but their duties and the outcomes are slightly different. Here’s more information about mediation and litigation so that you can decide what’s best for you.

Mediation

When you hire a lawyer to perform mediation, his or her goal is to help you and your spouse perform all the divisions that happen during a divorce without setting foot in a courtroom. Just like you would hire a lawyer to represent you if you were going to court, you will have your own lawyer for mediation. Your spouse will also have his or her own lawyer.

Pros of Mediation

Divorces that are settled through mediation often take less time and cost less money. When both parties are open to mediation, the process can move quite quickly. Open communication and compromise is a key factor to a smooth mediation.

When you and your spouse can easily communicate and agree about how things get divided, it takes less time for your divorce to be completed. With fewer billed hours from your lawyers and the absence of court fees, this route often is the least expensive choice for getting a divorce.

Another benefit of mediation is that, by staying out of court, you can keep your divorce a more private experience. Sometimes people forget that court is public. Whatever happens in an open courtroom could be reported, so by staying in a private room, you avoid allowing the public to know what happens in your divorce mediation.

Cons of Mediation

On the other hand, if you and your spouse are unable to communicate or agree, mediation can take a while or even cease completely. If communication shuts down, litigation is the only other option for you to get a divorce.

Litigation

Many divorces are settled with litigation. Often, both parties can’t fully agree on how everything should be divided. In these situations, the divorce heads to court for a judge to decide what is fair.

Pros of Litigation

If you want to avoid additional communication with your spouse, litigation is the way to go. When you choose litigation, your lawyer speaks with your spouse’s lawyer. This means that you don’t have to communicate with your spouse regarding the divorce. In fact, it’s best if you don’t.

Cons of Litigation

When your lawyer talks to your spouse’s lawyer, that costs you money. Allowing your lawyer to do all of the communicating for you is definitely a more expensive route. The back and forth of your lawyer having to talk to your spouse’s lawyer and then talk to you ends up with double the work for your lawyer than with mediation.

Plus, it takes longer to communicate this way. This means that it will take longer for your divorce to be finalized.

Another negative to litigation is that you have to wait and pay for court. When you decide to litigate, you are assigned a court date. Depending on where you’re filing, this could be quite a long time. Then, after you go to court, someone will be responsible for the court fees.

Still Unsure?

When you look at it in writing, mediation might seem like the best choice. The truth is that there is no best choice. While some divorces are easily mediated, others fail in mediation and are forced to head to the courtroom. The key is to know whether you and your spouse can both communicate and compromise.

If you’re still unsure of which route to choose, Attorney Ray Garcia can help you decide. Contact us to ask your questions. Let us help you make the best decision for you regarding your Florida divorce.