What is the Difference Between Divorce Mediation and Divorce Litigation?

Many people assume that Court appearances are a mandatory step in the divorce process, which has been traditionally the case. Today, however, couples have more options when it comes to dissolving their marriage, including divorce mediation. With so many opinions on the internet, what can you trust? Our divorce law experts are here to help you answer what the difference between litigation and mediation is.

Divorce Litigation

Divorce litigation is probably the most common divorce method and is typically what we think of when we are considering a divorce. However, it is important to remember that litigation does not automatically mean that you will have a lengthy Court battle with your spouse. In reality, many divorce cases reach a settlement outside of the courtroom. Litigation may be the best option for your divorce if one person doesn’t actually want the divorce, or if you and your spouse cannot agree on key issues like maintenance or how to divide your assets. In both scenarios, there can be a level of antagonism and you might actually need a Court’s intervention.

Divorce Mediation

Divorce mediation, on the other hand, can be more cost effective, saves time, and tends to be an easier process because there is usually less fighting. During mediation, you and your spouse will work with a neutral third party mediator, sometimes even an attorney to come to an agreement on every aspect of your divorce, which will give you the chance to personalize your agreement more. You may also benefit from mediation if you and your spouse are amicable and willing to compromise, or if there are children involved and you want to have more control about what custody of those children will look like.

So Which Should You Choose?

The short answer is: it depends. Divorce by litigation and mediation each have their own benefits and drawbacks. Deciding the best course of action for your family will depend on your particular situation and how you see your family moving forward in the future. Just like any  relationship, divorces have nuances and can be very complex. 

When Divorce Litigation is A Good Idea

Divorce litigation is a good idea when you do not forsee an amicable approach to divorce negotiations. When you and your spouse are in a hostile environment, it is unlikely that you will be able to reach an agreement on the terms of your divorce without the help of independent counsel and the Court’s guidance. In the extremely contested situations, you may even find yourself at a trial, where the Court will have an increased say in your final terms. In these cases, an experienced litigator is necessary to help you navigate the Court appearances and even trial, if you find yourself in a Contested Divorce trial.

When Divorce Mediation is a Good Idea

As we previously mentioned, divorce mediation is a strong option for spouses that do not have heightened levels of conflict or hostility when it comes to determining the terms of their divorce. When both spouses are able to make compromises on their goals going into the divorce, divorce mediation can help to lower the cost of the divorce, but also speed up the process. Divorce mediation also allows for spouses to determine the terms on their own, guided by a certified mediator. If you and your spouse cannot agree on much, then divorce mediation may not be a good idea.

Contact us

If you have found yourself considering a divorce, it is important to meet with an experienced divorce attorney. Fortunately, our office has certified mediators and litigation experts, meaning whatever your ultimate decision may be, we are ready and able to help you.


If you are ready for a divorce, schedule your consultation with Douglas Family Law Group, PLLC today. You can reach us at 914.615.9058. Our mission is to protect what’s most important to you.

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