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Divorce Mediation and Litigation: Which Do You Need?

By Nottage and Ward on August 20, 2023

If you recently decided to dissolve your marriage, you are likely aware that you have more than one option available. Depending on the specifics of your case, mediation or litigation may be more appropriate for you.

Mediation is a more collaborative approach to divorce that allows both parties to maintain more control over the terms of their divorce. It is designed for spouses who are willing to work with one another. If you and your spouse are unable or unwilling to cooperate, litigation is likely the only option.

Mediation: A Collaborative Approach

Mediation is an ideal approach for couples willing to work out the terms of their divorce outside of court with the assistance of an unbiased, third-party mediator. The process is generally less time-consuming, less costly, and less contentious than divorce litigation.

If you have children, this process may help you and your spouse maintain a better co-parenting relationship. It could also reduce the tension and stress your children may experience. Given the lighter emotional toll this process takes, it is no wonder why so many couples choose this option.

Litigation: The Traditional Route

If you and your spouse have a particularly difficult and strained relationship, it may not be possible for you to go through the divorce mediation process. Under these circumstances, litigation may be your best option.

During divorce litigation, you and your spouse will each present your case, and at the end of this process, a judge will make decisions regarding asset division, allocation of parental responsibilities, child support, and spousal maintenance. If your case is very complex, involves high assets, or you are dealing with a high-conflict spouse, the process could potentially be much more time-consuming.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Mediation

The most significant factor to consider when deciding if mediation is the right option is whether your spouse is willing to participate in this process. To move forward with mediation, both spouses must agree to it. If your divorce goes to court, the terms of your split will be decided by a judge.

Mediation will allow you and your spouse to stay in the driver’s seat. It is a big reason why many spouses choose to set their differences aside and opt for mediation. If you are not dealing with complex financial issues or the allocation of parental responsibilities, mediation is also an ideal process.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Litigation

When spouses are unable to agree to any form of alternative dispute resolution, litigation is usually the next step. It is the most effective way to resolve a divorce when one or both spouses are unwilling to work out an agreement. Resolving the key issues of divorce in litigation can be a difficult process, which is why it is crucial to hire an experienced divorce attorney to guide you through it.

For example, in a high-asset divorce case, a spouse may try to hide assets or engage in wasteful dissipation. A knowledgeable lawyer will know what to look for and can effectively advocate on your behalf in court.

Consult a Trusted Illinois Family Law Attorney

If you are considering your divorce options, your first step should be to talk to a knowledgeable family law attorney. Nottage and Ward, LLP has over 25 years of experience navigating complex divorce cases. Our Chicago attorneys are dedicated to resolving some of the most complicated issues and are committed to providing compassionate legal support.

Nottage and Ward, LLP focuses exclusively on family law and is listed by Martindale-Hubbell in its Bar Register of Pre-eminent Lawyers for outstanding legal service and success. We have the knowledge and resources to assess your situation and advocate for your best interests carefully and effectively.

Call (312) 332-2915 to learn more about your legal options during a divorce.

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