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What is the Difference Between Mediation and Litigation When it Comes to Divorce?

Just as every couple’s relationship is different, the divorce process will also look different depending on the situation’s specifics. Some couples can separate their lives amicably through mediation, while others might require the court’s assistance to divide marital property, determine custody of children, and other issues.

Here, we’ll discuss some differences between litigation and mediation regarding divorce in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

What is Litigation?

Litigation might be necessary if you and your spouse cannot agree on the terms of your divorce and must go before a court to resolve matters. During litigation, both parties present their arguments before a judge, who is charged with taking all of the facts into account and making decisions for you on issues like child custody, child support, alimony, and property division.

While it can be more costly than mediation, divorce litigation might be the best path in some situations. For instance, litigation might be necessary if you cannot agree on the division of property acquired during the marriage or cannot agree to terms regarding child custody.

Or, if you believe your spouse is an unfit parent, if they were violent or abusive, if they failed to disclose certain assets to you, or if they are bullying you to agree to objectionable terms, then going before a judge might be the best way to achieve a resolution.

However, mediation might be a viable option if you believe that you and your spouse could agree without the court’s help.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is an alternative option for conflict resolution during the divorce process. Mediation occurs in a neutral environment and allows you and your spouse to discuss issues, negotiate disputes, and make compromises for mutual benefit. Mediation should always be facilitated by a professional. The mediator will be an impartial person whose job is to help you and your spouse reach an agreement and resolve conflict.

In mediation, you and your spouse have more control over the terms of your separation agreement. If you can effectively collaborate with your spouse on a separation agreement, you won’t need to ask a judge to intervene. In litigation, there’s no guarantee that the judge will decide in your favor or fulfill your wishes.

Mediation could be the right solution if you want more control over your case’s outcome and believe that you and your spouse can reach a compromise. By effectively communicating with your spouse and approaching mediation with a cooperative attitude, you and your partner can come to your resolution rather than endlessly battling it out in court.

If mediation is successful, you and your spouse can establish a separation agreement without arguing before a judge. If you cannot reach an agreement on specific issues during mediation, you will have to litigate those issues in court. Mediation can save you time and money in the long term, but if you cannot get a fair offer from your spouse, you could opt for litigation, or other alternatives such as a Collaborative Divorce.

Contact a Virginia Divorce Attorney Today

If you are seeking a divorce in Virginia and aren’t sure whether litigation or mediation is right for you, contact a Vienna divorce lawyer at ROOP XANTTOPOULOS BABOUNAKIS & KLAM PLLC today to discuss your case.

Call our office today at 703-442-0040 or reach out to us online to schedule a confidential consultation.


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