Divorce is hard under any circumstances – even if it’s ultimately what’s best for both parties. But while people tend to think of the divorce process as adversarial, there’s an alternative option to litigation that allows you and your ex to settle your differences outside of the courtroom: mediation. Here’s everything you need to know about divorce litigation and mediation to help you determine which is right for you.

When should you choose mediation?

  • You want what’s best for your kids: Mediation is perhaps the most child-focused divorce option. It allows two parents to work together to determine what is best for their children and outline plans for custody and support with less conflict and less stress on the kids.
  • You want to keep the peace: Mediation doesn’t require you or your ex to be friends or agree on everything. You both just have to be open to the process and willing to compromise. This can set the foundation for an amicable co-parenting relationship.
  • You want to save time and money:  If you wish to complete your divorce in months instead of years and save thousands of dollars in the process, mediation is the way to go.
  • You want control over the outcome: Mediation allows you and your ex to discuss and resolve all issues relevant to you – and your solutions can be customized to your specific needs. In litigation, a judge decides the outcome of your divorce settlement.

When should you choose litigation?

  • Your ex is mentally incapacitated: Mediation allows two parties to make their own decisions in their divorce settlement. But if your ex isn’t able to make their own decisions, such as if they have an addiction or neurological condition, they will likely need their own attorney to serve as their advocate.
  • You fear for your safety or there’s domestic violence: Your safety should be your top priority if you are dealing with a dangerous ex. Litigation is a much better option if you fear any retribution or abuse from your ex.
  • You suspect your spouse is hiding assets: Successful mediation relies on both parties being honest and transparent about their assets to settle. If you suspect your ex is trying to hide money or valuables from you to keep for themselves, you should consider hiring a lawyer to help you
  • Your spouse is unwilling to mediate: Mediation is a voluntary process that requires two parties to work together to reach a settlement. Even if you want to negotiate, if your ex-spouse is incapable of cooperating or compromise, mediation likely isn’t the right route for you.