Divorce vs. Mediation Explained

When you decide it’s time to separate from your partner for good, you probably think of one concept only: divorce.

Indeed, divorce is the process by which you and your spouse resolve the issues required to end your marriage. You might not immediately think ofdivorce mediation, though, which can actually be a better option for you and your spouse.

Divorce vs. Mediation Guide

At Berger, Fischoff, Shumer, Wexler, and Goodman, LLP in Long Island, our family law team is pragmatic, goal-oriented, and attentive. In addition to advocating on your behalf, we also believe in providing helpful resources so you can feel knowledgeable and confident as you seek legal aid.

As such, we have provided this guide to provide a broad-level overview of the differences between divorce and mediation. If you aren’t sure which option is best for your scenario, feel free to contact us today for a free consultation.

How Are Divorce And Mediation Different?

Divorce Involves Two Attorneys (And, Potentially, Court)

While state processes and laws regarding divorce differ, the high-level process is standard.

For a traditional divorce, each spouse hires their own attorney. Both parties work to identify and negotiate issues, such as financial asset distribution and child custody. The two attorneys handle the negotiations while representing one client.

In these cases, when a formal agreement cannot be reached via negotiation, the divorce proceeds through the family court system. In court, arguments, evidence, and testimony are given in front of a family law judge. The judge then decides the outcome of the divorce and makes decisions about parenting time, child support, division of assets and debts, etc.

Mediation Involves One Mediator And A Negotiation

The salient difference between divorce and mediation is the role of attorney vs. mediator. Whereas each spouse has an attorney in a traditional divorce proceeding, each spouse shares one mediator in a divorce mediation.

As opposed to building the best case for his or her client, as a divorce attorney would do, a mediator acts as a neutral, third-party counselor. They moderate discussions between spouses as the two disputing parties reach their own mutually acceptable agreements (e.g. asset distribution, child custody). At the end of the day, a judge will not hand down a must-follow divorce settlement. Nor will two lawyers dispute on your behalf in a court of law. Ultimately, in a mediation, you and your spouse work with an objective party to decide the terms of your divorce.

An important note is that mediators are not always lawyers, nor do they have to be. While many family law attorneys have the skillset to serve as mediators, it’s not a requirement. Those who choose to be mediators must also be trained in the separate (though related) realm of mediation.

Divorce vs. Mediation Timelines

The timeline for divorce and mediation proceedings depend on a host of factors: state of relationship, state of finances, whether children are involved, and willingness to cooperate, to name a few.

In general, though, a traditional divorce can take between 16 months and three years.

Mediation, on the other hand, is largely paced by the two parties. It can take anywhere between one and five mediation sessions to reach a resolution. Depending on the amiability between spouses and willingness to compromise, the mediation process can take between two and six months.

Divorce vs. Mediation Costs

Again, it’s impossible to give any hard-and-fast costs for divorce and mediation because so much depends on the factors of the case.

As a general rule of thumb, however, divorce proceedings are often more expensive than mediation. Family law attorneys can charge a premium, and you could have even higher costs if your case goes to trial. The range can start at $20,000 and increase upwards of $200,000 in extreme cases.

Meditation is generally more affordable, as you aren’t paying attorneys fees. Depending on the mediator and the circumstance, the process could cost between $5,000 and $10,000.

Confidentiality

Divorce litigation is available on public record, so your divorce will be accessible. Mediation, on the other hand, is treated like a counseling session. It’s as private as you would like it to be.

Tone Of The Process

During a divorce trial, you and your ex are essentially going head-to-head. Your attorneys are there to advocate on your behalf, which can lead to some hostile situations. This isn’t always the case, but divorce proceedings can get heated.

Mediation can also involve hostility — as resentment tends to be stirred up in any type of divorce process — but it’s generally less adversarial. The point, after all, is to negotiate and reach a compromise together.

About Our Family Law Firm

With more than 60 years of experience, the matrimonial attorneys at Berger, Fischoff, Shumer, Wexler, and Goodman, LLP, can advocate for you.

Whether you need aggressive divorce litigation or would rather opt for mediation, our family law team can help.

Contact us today for a free consultation on Long Island.

April 26, 2019

When you decide it’s time to separate from your partner for good, you probably think of one concept only: divorce.

Indeed, divorce is the process by which you and your spouse resolve the issues required to end your marriage. You might not immediately think ofdivorce mediation, though, which can actually be a better option for you and your spouse.

Divorce vs. Mediation Guide

At Berger, Fischoff, Shumer, Wexler, and Goodman, LLP in Long Island, our family law team is pragmatic, goal-oriented, and attentive. In addition to advocating on your behalf, we also believe in providing helpful resources so you can feel knowledgeable and confident as you seek legal aid.

As such, we have provided this guide to provide a broad-level overview of the differences between divorce and mediation. If you aren’t sure which option is best for your scenario, feel free to contact us today for a free consultation.

How Are Divorce And Mediation Different?

Divorce Involves Two Attorneys (And, Potentially, Court)

While state processes and laws regarding divorce differ, the high-level process is standard.

For a traditional divorce, each spouse hires their own attorney. Both parties work to identify and negotiate issues, such as financial asset distribution and child custody. The two attorneys handle the negotiations while representing one client.

In these cases, when a formal agreement cannot be reached via negotiation, the divorce proceeds through the family court system. In court, arguments, evidence, and testimony are given in front of a family law judge. The judge then decides the outcome of the divorce and makes decisions about parenting time, child support, division of assets and debts, etc.

Mediation Involves One Mediator And A Negotiation

The salient difference between divorce and mediation is the role of attorney vs. mediator. Whereas each spouse has an attorney in a traditional divorce proceeding, each spouse shares one mediator in a divorce mediation.

As opposed to building the best case for his or her client, as a divorce attorney would do, a mediator acts as a neutral, third-party counselor. They moderate discussions between spouses as the two disputing parties reach their own mutually acceptable agreements (e.g. asset distribution, child custody). At the end of the day, a judge will not hand down a must-follow divorce settlement. Nor will two lawyers dispute on your behalf in a court of law. Ultimately, in a mediation, you and your spouse work with an objective party to decide the terms of your divorce.

An important note is that mediators are not always lawyers, nor do they have to be. While many family law attorneys have the skillset to serve as mediators, it’s not a requirement. Those who choose to be mediators must also be trained in the separate (though related) realm of mediation.

Divorce vs. Mediation Timelines

The timeline for divorce and mediation proceedings depend on a host of factors: state of relationship, state of finances, whether children are involved, and willingness to cooperate, to name a few.

In general, though, a traditional divorce can take between 16 months and three years.

Mediation, on the other hand, is largely paced by the two parties. It can take anywhere between one and five mediation sessions to reach a resolution. Depending on the amiability between spouses and willingness to compromise, the mediation process can take between two and six months.

Divorce vs. Mediation Costs

Again, it’s impossible to give any hard-and-fast costs for divorce and mediation because so much depends on the factors of the case.

As a general rule of thumb, however, divorce proceedings are often more expensive than mediation. Family law attorneys can charge a premium, and you could have even higher costs if your case goes to trial. The range can start at $20,000 and increase upwards of $200,000 in extreme cases.

Meditation is generally more affordable, as you aren’t paying attorneys fees. Depending on the mediator and the circumstance, the process could cost between $5,000 and $10,000.

Confidentiality

Divorce litigation is available on public record, so your divorce will be accessible. Mediation, on the other hand, is treated like a counseling session. It’s as private as you would like it to be.

Tone Of The Process

During a divorce trial, you and your ex are essentially going head-to-head. Your attorneys are there to advocate on your behalf, which can lead to some hostile situations. This isn’t always the case, but divorce proceedings can get heated.

Mediation can also involve hostility — as resentment tends to be stirred up in any type of divorce process — but it’s generally less adversarial. The point, after all, is to negotiate and reach a compromise together.

About Our Family Law Firm

With more than 60 years of experience, the matrimonial attorneys at Berger, Fischoff, Shumer, Wexler, and Goodman, LLP, can advocate for you.

Whether you need aggressive divorce litigation or would rather opt for mediation, our family law team can help.

Contact us today for a free consultation on Long Island.