When you choose divorce as your next step, you have options to consider. You’ll decide how much of the marital property you want to fight for, what type of custody you want to pursue, and whether to file for fault or no-fault divorce. Another choice you will have to make is whether you will go through a litigated divorce or attempt mediation.
This decision could have a serious impact on the entirety of your divorce process and your relationship with your ex moving forward. Learn more about your options now by calling Holcomb & Russell at 228-432-6652.
The Timeframe of Your Divorce
Litigation and mediation could change the timeline of your divorce. A contested divorce takes time—there’s no way around it. Your lawyers will go around and around, trying to negotiate out of court in order to help you maintain some level of control. When that fails, you will have to go to court and hash out your private business with a judge who then makes decisions for both of you. On the other hand, a mediated divorce can be sorted out fairly quickly if the parties are able to reach a consensus on important issues.
The Level of Cooperation
A contested divorce requires no level of cooperation and is often the only option because there is no cooperation. However, mediation does require some level of working together and collaborating. If neither party is willing to give anything to the other, mediation is almost guaranteed not to work.
Who is in Control
With mediation, the divorcing parties maintain control over the process, which agreements they reach, and which compromises they make. While it may be painful and difficult to make those compromises, you at least get the freedom to make your own decisions. Those who go through a contested divorce are not in control of the outcome. The judge is. That can be a huge disadvantage if the judge makes a decision that neither party is happy with but no longer has the power to change.
The Co-Parenting Relationship
Perhaps one of the biggest differences between mediation and litigation in a divorce is the co-parenting relationship. Although this only applies to divorcing couples who share children, that group does make up a large percentage of Mississippi divorces.
Contested divorces are extremely hard on both parties, making it difficult for them to maintain any semblance of a positive co-parenting relationship moving forward. It often takes time for the relationship to be rebuilt, and even then, it may or may not ever become friendly. Mediation, since it does involve compromise and collaboration, may better preserve the co-parenting relationship. For some, this makes post-divorce life easier and less stressful.
The efficiency of the Process
Although a contested divorce may take longer and cost more for both parties, it is still fairly efficient. It does guarantee a divorce agreement at the conclusion of the case. On the other hand, there is no guarantee that mediation will be an efficient method of terminating a marriage. No matter how much time both parties put in, it’s possible to reach the end of mediation without a divorce agreement in hand. Either party can walk away at any time, at which point you must go through litigation anyway.
The Overall Process
If you look at the divorce process from start to finish, the differences between litigation and mediation are night and day. Litigation involves hashing out each issue, generally in an adversarial manner. Evidence is provided and taken into account by the judge.
The judge gets the final say in every matter. Mediation progresses either with both parties in one room or in separate rooms, depending on how confrontational the negotiations are. The mediator acts as a neutral third party that does not advocate for either party. The process is cooperative in nature, encouraging both parties to negotiate for the sake of a swift and fair divorce.
Discuss Your Family Law Options with Holcomb & Russell
Whether you think mediation or litigation is the better option for your divorce, make sure you have a reliable attorney by your side. We’re here to help. Call Holcomb & Russell at 228-432-6652 or send us a message online to get started.