Understanding the Key Differences Between Litigation and Mediation
December 16, 2016 | Hensley Legal Services
When going through a divorce, most people think that they will have to go through a mediation process, and then through litigation to get the final verdicts. The reality is, however, that in most cases people will either go through mediation, or litigation, but not both. Whichever route is followed, the end result is a divorce with a court order making it clear what each person gets and what they are responsible for.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is a process where both spouses get together with neutral third party mediators, typically with their attorneys present. The mediation process makes it possible for the spouses to negotiate agreements on everything that needs to be decided in the divorce. Once done, the attorneys will write up an order and present it to the courts for approval.
What Is Litigation?
Litigation is when the courts are more directly involved and will use their authority to guide the process. While most people picture attorneys in the courtroom making impassioned arguments, that is not always what litigation is like (though it is sometimes necessary). With litigation, the two opposing parties will follow the instructions of the court, present their arguments, and abide by the judge’s ruling.
Litigation Is Necessary for Discovery
One of the biggest differences between the two options is that litigation can have the courts facilitate a discovery process. If, for example, one spouse holds all the financial information and won’t share it (or is suspected of holding something back), litigation can demand that it be released and even force financial companies to release information. The discovery process is sometimes needed in particularly contentious cases, and when it is, litigation is the right choice.
Mediation Helps Maintain Control
One of the things many people like about mediation is that the spouses maintain a greater level of control. If the courts have to make final decisions, as they sometimes do in litigation, the couple has to follow that ruling. With mediation, on the other hand, the spouses can negotiate freely, with the help of a mediator, to help find win-win solutions to conflict.
Choosing the Right Option
While many people like to suggest that mediation is the only right choice because of the many benefits it offers, that is not necessarily the case. In some situations, going directly to litigation can actually save you time, money, and stress over trying to mediate with a spouse who is unwilling to compromise. Every divorce is unique, and each spouse should, along with their attorney, evaluate what the best way to get through it will be.
Whether you think you’ll need mediation or litigation, Hensley Legal Services is here for you. Contact us to set up a consultation and determine what you should do to get the best results from your divorce.
Hensley Legal Services
427 South Boston Ave
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74103
Tel: (918) 398-5692
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