What’s the Difference Between Divorce and Mediation?

Are you unsure about the differences between an adversarial divorce and mediation? If you’re considering divorce, it’s an important distinction to understand. A traditional divorce involves the divorcing parties and their attorneys each pursuing what they believe to be an equitable settlement. If the couple does not agree on major issues, a court date will typically follow. If a divorcing couple can settle their issues without rancor, mediation (a.k.a. collaborative divorce) may be a better option. Why?

  1. Mediation can be less expensive. Each party can forgo having their own attorney if they want to.
  2. If the couple agrees on major issues like child conservatorship, support payments, and division of assets, the process can take less time than a traditional divorce.
  3. Mediation offers the same confidentiality as a traditional divorce, in that the mediator is not permitted to discuss your case with outside parties.
  4. Divorcing spouses may choose to speak to the mediator alone or together, allowing them to assess the best way to proceed. Remember, the mediator doesn’t make the decisions. They help the couple work out their own compromise together. That’s the major difference between traditional divorce and mediation.
  5. Mediation may help ease tension in your relationship with your ex moving forward. This can be helpful if you have children together.

Mediation isn’t right for everyone, though. Here are a few signs you should not seek a mediation divorce:

  1. There has been violence or other abuse in the home toward anyone, even if it’s “mutual.”
  2. If either spouse has substance abuse or mental health issues, mediation is not a good option.
  3. Should you feel like your spouse is pressuring you (either in your mediation sessions or outside them) to take an unfair offer, you should not pursue mediation.
  4. Feeling ambivalent or unsure about divorce and mediation may mean that you should talk things over with an attorney.
  5. If you feel like your spouse may be lying, hiding money, or is at fault for the marriage ending, a traditional divorce is probably a better option.

Jennifer Espronceda has helped many families through collaborative divorce. To arrange a consultation, contact Espronceda Law at 210-504-1514 or by using this contact form.

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