Litigation vs. Collaborative Divorce vs. Mediation

Accomplished Mediators Helping Families Reach Peaceful Resolutions – without Divorce Lawyers

Learn more about the differences between divorce mediation, litigation and collaborative divorce

More and more, families are beginning to realize that there are better ways to resolve family law issues than through litigation. Litigation is expensive, wearing on both of the parties, and is usually detrimental to the children. Discovery and repeated hearings mean litigation can often take years to resolve. Worse, even when there is a resolution, the parties are often back in court asking that one or more parts of the divorce order be changed or modified. 

Collaborative divorce is better than traditional litigation but it means that lawyers will be directly involved in each phase of the divorce. Using lawyers means more money needs to be spent and the attempts to resolve the dispute will be adversarial. At Divorce Mediation Associates, Ltd., our divorce mediation professionals understand that there is a better alternative. Divorces work best when the parties can reach an amicable settlement on their own without the courts or attorneys.

Why mediation may be a better solution than working with a family law firm

Divorces and the accompanying issues — child custody, visitation, parenting plans, equitable distribution, alimony, child support — are typically resolved through the litigation process, though some couples choose to use a process called collaborative divorce. Mediation is something else entirely. At Divorce Mediation Associates, Ltd., we strongly recommend mediation because it helps foster fair and long-term solutions that last, leave the parties happy, and usually cost the least amount of money.

Litigation is costly, time-consuming and often contentious.

Court proceedings are the least effective and most expensive way to resolve disputes. Before the divorce complaint is served, both spouses typically hire lawyers to represent their interests. Lawyers often take the most extreme positions possible (the other spouse is the one who caused the divorce and shouldn’t get a dime). Each phase of the divorce will then go through more pleadings, extensive discovery, court hearings, and ultimately a forced decision by a judge. Litigation can take hundreds of hours which, when billed at several hundred dollars an hour, can cost a fortune. The adversarial process never effectively gets the parties to make calm rational decisions. Worse, children are often put in the position of feeling they have to take sides.

Collaborative divorce takes time and money, and may not resolve the problem.

Collaborative divorce is less contentious than traditional litigation and may be appropriate for some couples. Collaborations usually take place in the offices of the lawyers involved rather than a courtroom. Both sides retain collaboration-trained divorce lawyers, mental health professionals and, sometimes, financial experts, and they voluntarily exchange information. Collaboration only succeeds when both attorneys and both spouses are willing to reach a solution — though usually at a higher cost than mediation. If an agreement is not reached, the spouses then hire a new set of lawyers and proceed to litigation.

Mediation is less expensive, less time-consuming, and focuses on YOUR goals.

In mediation, the spouses meet with a qualified mediator who conducts regular sessions. Our multi-disciplinary team of attorneys and mental health professionals meet with you and your spouse for regular sessions every 7-10 days, where we address your concerns, and work on an agreement that is fair to both of you. By putting everything out in the open, and requiring an open and honest dialogue, we help our clients get to the bottom of what they really want and need. Once we have helped you craft a personalized agreement, we encourage you to have your independent attorneys review it. By going through divorce mediation, spouses in Northern Virginia can get the quicker, simpler and less-contention uncontested divorce they want, while ensuring that their children are safe and their assets are secure.

At Divorce Mediation Associates, Ltd., our team understands the pitfalls of litigation and collaborative divorce. We are experienced at helping Virginia families take the anger and high expenses out of the divorce process.

Our divorce mediation professionals help clients in Northern Virginia reach a prompt and fair resolution

At Divorce Mediation Associates, Ltd., our divorce mediators are ready to help you resolve your divorce issues and get on with your life. We help you focus on what you really need and what you should expect. Our staff is trained to calmly and competently guide you to an overall agreement that can endure, takes weeks or months instead of years, and is affordable. Please call us now at 703-665-7592 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment for you and your spouse, and learn more about how the process works, and how it can benefit you and your family.


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