How is mediation different from litigation?

Filing for divorce is a legal transaction. As soon as one-party files for divorce in the courts the two of you become adversaries. That is what the legal system does. When you choose to go to court, each of you will have attorney’s fees which can mount quite high depending on how thorough you want your offense and defense to be. This confrontation culminates in a public hearing in an open courtroom where you may not wish to have dirty laundry aired. All papers filed will be a matter of public record, available online for all to see including your children and grandchildren years down the road. The timetable will be controlled by the court and the attorneys.

A better way is to choose mediation as a solution. When you choose mediation, the costs, both financial and emotional, can be significantly less. The two of you, not the courts, will work out arrangements as regards what is in the best interest of your children. With regards to the children. If you decide to change your arrangements later you do not have to return to court. As regards duration of the process, you and your spouse will determine this, not the courts. Something else to consider: the issues you discuss and hammer out will be private, not public.

Mediation involves a mindset of collaboration. If you are unable to come to terms on your own, you’ll want to know that it will cost you more in the end. If you’re aware that your partner is difficult and absolutely unwilling to compromise, efforts at mediation may not be worth the money. In most cases, however, mediation is a great way for a couple to avoid the huge cost of a trial.

I’ll interject here that there are people who do decide to represent themselves in court and forego an attorney in order to “save money” but I’ve seldom, if ever, seen things work in their favor in the end.

Contact experienced family law attorney Jessica L. Sterle at (218) 722-2655 to schedule a consultation to discuss custody or parenting time issues.

Jessica Sterle