Deciding to get a divorce exposes you to chains of issues. You’ll need to make several decisions off the bat. Some easy. Some tricky. Yet this phase comes with its fair share of emotional baggage. 

However, the chief decision is to choose between mediation and litigation while getting a divorce. 

This is one of the tricky decisions because it influences your emotional well-being or future relations with your ex-spouse. 

Litigation is a formal process in which a judge imposes orders through court judgments and resolves disputes. On the other hand, divorce mediation involves a third party who facilitates dialogue to help estranged couples reach a mutual separation agreement.

What’s your best bet while separating? When should you opt for either of the options? Well, keep reading. We’ll walk you through what you should know about litigation and mediation. 

What is Divorce Mediation?

It’s an interactive process where an impartial, neutral party resolves conflicts between estranged couples. The third party involves negotiation and communication techniques. 

Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution method to resolve differences and reach a mutually beneficial consensus. What are the perks of divorce mediation? 

One benefit is that it’s less expensive than actual litigation. You only have to pay court filing fees and the mediator’s fee. Typically, the parties split the mediator’s fee, reducing the financial burden on each party. 

Another benefit is the private mediation sessions and quick resolution times. This privacy means you can separate without airing your dirty linens outside. 

Since you’ll reach a mutual agreement with your partner, meditation preserves a healthy post-divorce relationship. Most times, the children enjoy the best parent-child relationship possible after a divorce.

Put simply, opt for meditation if you are open to compromise and wish to pursue negotiations in good faith. 

How Does Divorce Litigation Work? 

In divorce litigation, facts and evidence prevail and influence the judge’s final decisions, binding on the parties. It’s the traditional way of dissolving marriage, where each party presents their case before a court and undergoes a formal proceeding. 

One of the perks of litigation is the judge’s binding decisions and enforcement of legal precedents. Divorce litigation works when parties are noncooperative or require complex asset division. 

The judge makes a ruling binding on both parties with the option to appeal when needed. Cases involving domestic abuse or disputes over child custody often lead to divorce litigation. Sometimes, couples opt for this option when the parties can’t reach an amicable agreement after trying mediation. 

Divorce Mediation vs. Litigation: Making a Decision 

To finally choose the right route for separation, you’ll need to confirm these factors: 


Litigation is pricier than mediation. However, it costs more money and more time. Spending money on divorce lawyers and court procedures and wasting more time could be a turnoff. Mediation, on the other hand, is more straightforward, costs less, and typically has a shorter procedure.


Divorce mediation cuts out some court schedules and legal procedures to conclude faster. However, litigation could last months or years, depending on the case’s complexity. Sometimes, lengthy court backlogs also drag litigation time, so the parties sometimes have to wait years before getting justice. 

Emotional Toll

During a mediation process, the parties are less adversarial and more collaborative. Hence, the families and estranged couples experience less emotional strain. Conversely, litigation’s confrontational nature causes bitterness and more stress–even for the kids. 


Litigations don’t always lead to satisfactory judgment. The court makes decisions based on discretion, which isn’t always favorable to the parties’ opinions. 

On the contrary, mediation offers a chance to customize their agreements, promoting mutual satisfaction. 

Bottom Line

Couples seeking a less expensive way to divorce and willing to compromise may opt for mediation. For mediation to work, both parties should have a balanced playing field. It might be difficult to reach a consensus if either of the spouses has the upper hand. Finally, both parties must be willing to compromise and commit to the process. 

If any of the spouses is deceitful or ready for outright battle, mediation won’t work. You are better off with divorce litigation. 

The complexity of your situation and the kind of relationship between the couple also affect the best option for you.

Alternatively, you can resolve some issues through mediation and narrow down the litigious matters.