Do you need to hire a divorce mediator or a lawyer? Check out this guide to learn about the differences between divorce mediation and a divorce lawyer.
The longstanding notion that 50 percent of married couples get divorced has lost footing in recent years. However, it still affects a large portion of couples and brings on a variety of stressful questions.
How do you go about it? What are your options? What’s the difference between getting a divorce mediation vs lawyer?
And while ending any relationship is never easy, this guide can offer answers to common questions as you explore the pros and cons of mediation and litigation.
What Is Divorce Mediation and How Does It Work?
Mediation is an alternative method of resolving disputes. As opposed to conventional court proceedings, in mediation there will be no judge and lawyers play a minimal to non-existent role.
The process of mediation is all about communication, compromise and reaching a mutually agreeable solution. In this situation, there will be you, your partner and an impartial mediator.
The mediator’s responsibility is to ensure that the two of you are communicating effectively and clearly with each other, expressing your priorities or interests. Here the mediator does not make decisions but is there to make sure all major points of the dispute are addressed in a way that’s systematic and fair.
Exploring a Divorce Litigation
This is the more conventional, standard court proceeding where you and your spouse both have lawyers representing you individually. In this scenario, the judge will make the final call on things like custody, alimony and related issues.
The outcome of litigation rests solely on how well your case is represented to the judge or, rarely, jury.
So why is mediation an option? Do you really get a satisfactory outcome? In some cases you do. Here are a few circumstances where you might choose mediation.
1. You Want to Maintain Amicable Relations
Litigation sometimes results in one person getting their way, and the other having to make hard compromises. This can leave a strain on the relationship, making it extremely difficult to keep the peace between former spouses.
Here’s where mediation, usually offers a win-win situation, where both party’s interests are met equally. This can be easier on the kids (if any) and the parties as well.
2. Money Is an Issue
Divorces can be expensive when they involve lawyers and a court. If you don’t need to invest in a lawyer and have the opportunity to solve things amicably, mediation can help you save a lot.
3. Time Constraints
If you want a quick decision, mediation is more likely to make that happen. That’s not to say litigation is always longer, however, courts are notoriously unpredictable and hearings do get put off.
4. You’re Leaving on Good Terms
You may not want to continue a married life together, but if you still trust your partner a reasonable amount and can expect them to play fair and be reasonable, mediation will most likely work for you.
When You Should Choose Litigation
Mediation can be the right choice in some cases, but in others, having a lawyer is a necessity. Here are a few situations where litigation is the more favorable option.
1. A Misbehaving Partner
If you’re a victim of domestic abuse or your partner engages in misbehavior towards you or your children, you should pursue litigation. In cases where your partner has a criminal record or gives you a reason to believe you or your children are in danger, getting a lawyer will be the most prudent course of action.
Issues like getting child custody or in more severe cases, getting a restraining order against your partner, become more crucial and will require a more authoritative intervention.
2. An Unwilling Spouse
If your partner is unwilling to try mediation, it is no longer an option. In that situation you simply have to hire a good divorce attorney who will represent your case as best they can.
3. Severe Mistrust
Mediation is something you and your partner should approach in good faith. And good faith requires a certain amount of trust. If you don’t have trust in your partner and believe they’re likely to exploit the situation for personal gain, litigation is by far the better option.
Divorce Mediation vs Lawyer: Making the Right Choice
Both divorce mediation and litigation have their perks, and you will have to make this decision based on your circumstances alone. Consider the advice above, do your research and talk to people you trust to find the situation that best meets your need.
Explore the rest of our blog for more information on alimony, custody, divorce, family law or call us today at (402) 415-2525 for a free consultation!