Mediation, Collaborative, Litigation? Which is right for you?
The following is a quick breakdown on the differences between mediation, collaborative divorce and litigation. Use this information to help you choose the right course of action for your divorce. Each of these approaches to divorce have their unique benefits and may not be right for your particular situation. Consult with a divorce attorney to determine which approach you and your spouse should take. The right divorce attorney should be able to handle any of these approaches.
|Who controls the process||The judge||You and your spouse||You and your spouse|
|Degree of adversity||Court process operates on an adversarial system||You and your spouse agree to openness and respect||You and your spouse agree to openness and respect|
|Cost||Unpredictable. Can escalate quickly during process and post-judgment||Manageable, efficient||Least expensive option; you and your spouse typically split the costs|
|Timetable||Judge – and crowded court calendars – decide||Decided by you and your spouse||Decided by you and your spouse|
|Use of outside experts||Litigants hire separate experts, often at great expense||Experts are jointly retained to guide you and your spouse toward mutually favorable solutions||Experts are jointly retained to guide you and your spouse toward mutually favorable solutions|
|Level of lawyer involvement||Both lawyers fight to win – which means someone must lose||Your lawyers hammer out an agreement that benefits both parties||Mediator does not advocate for either party. You and your spouse work together to reach a mutually agreeable settlement|
|Privacy||Proceedings are a matter of public record||All proceedings are kept private||Everything that is discussed during and after mediation is kept confidential|
|Communication facilitation||No system in place to encourage communication between spouses||Team of specialists teach you and your spouse how to communicate with respect and dignity||Team of specialists teach you and your spouse how to communicate with respect and dignity|
|Voluntary or mandatory||Mandatory if no agreement||Voluntary||Voluntary|
|Communication process||You and your spouse negotiate via lawyers||You and your spouse communicate directly, aided by members of your team||You and your spouse communicate directly, aided by your mediator|
|Court involvement||Court-based||Outside court||Outside court|