Mediation vs. Litigation: Choosing the Right Path in Yonkers Divorce Cases

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Divorce is inherently messy and complicated. Legally, you are splitting one joint existence into two separate lives, but there is also an inescapable emotional and mental toll. Divorce, even when it is for the best, requires grieving for the life that you thought you were going to have and accepting that your future will now look very different. As with anything in life, there are multiple options for handling the divorce process. However, the two most common paths are mediation or litigation.

Divorce involves complex asset division and financial matters that can impact your quality of life for years to come. Working with an experienced divorce attorney who is able to handle both mediation and litigation as necessary can ensure you have the help and support you need.

What Is Mediation?

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution. It involves both sides meeting with a neutral third party to try to come to an agreement about the terms of the divorce instead of going through a trial in the family court system. Mediation can help you save time and money in a divorce where you and your spouse are in agreement on most terms and are committed to having a low-conflict divorce.

What Is Litigation?

Litigation is the term used when a legal issue is decided in a court of law. For divorce cases, litigation means that the parties are not able to agree on a specific term — or any term — of the divorce and are going to go through the trial process to have it decided by a judge. Even if you are on civil terms with your ex, litigation is an adversarial process, so it’s important to be prepared for its emotional and financial implications. In litigation, especially, it’s absolutely crucial that you have an experienced divorce attorney fighting for your rights and interests.

How Do You Choose the Right Path for Your Divorce?

Divorce is rarely simple, and the decision between mediation and litigation isn’t either. In general, it can be beneficial to at least attempt mediation before moving on to litigation. Trials are expensive and time-consuming, and people often feel like their lives are up in the air and that they can’t settle into post-divorce life until the case is settled. Mediation is often a faster option, and it allows you and your ex to retain more control over the process instead of intimate family matters being decided by a stranger you only see in a courtroom.

However, the truth is that mediation doesn’t always work. To be successful, it requires both parties to be invested in coming to an agreeable resolution. In situations where there has been emotional betrayal, infidelity, or abuse, litigation may be required. If one party is high conflict — which means they are determined to fight about every aspect of the divorce just to cause the other person distress — litigation is often necessary to come to any resolution.

It’s rarely a bad idea to attempt mediation before moving on to litigation, but it’s important to do so under the direction and counsel of an attorney. You will still need legal representation dedicated to your interests to ensure that the mediation agreement is fair and equitable. Having an attorney involved from the beginning can also make it easier to switch to a litigation approach if mediation attempts aren’t successful.

What Can You Do to Get the Best Outcome for Your Divorce?

There may be no “best” outcome in a divorce because it always involves compromise of some sort, but there are things you can do to increase the likelihood of getting most of what you want and coming out of the divorce with a fair settlement. The first is to have a solution-oriented mindset. The goal is to get through the divorce process as quickly as possible without sacrificing what you’re entitled to, and being creative in negotiations can help.

The second is to work with an experienced family law firm, such as the Law Offices of Joseph A. Marra, PLLC. Our firm has decades of experience helping clients navigate divorce through both mediation and litigation. Call our office at 914-344-5145 to schedule an appointment and discuss your case.

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