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Divorce tempo, costs: whether to litigate or mediate?

Litigated or mediated divorce?

That is a question that more couples are asking these days, especially persons who have heard about divorce mediation and the clear benefits it can offer many divorcing couples.

Diane L. Danois is a family law mediator who notes that, first of all, divorce is a singular experience in every case, "affected by many external factors." Given that, it can never been said in an offhand and perfunctory manner that a litigated divorce is the way to go or that mediated divorce is the optimal vehicle for dissolving a marriage.

Think first, says Danois. Know the process entailed for each path.

A key resource that can be tapped by any divorcing person seeking knowledge and guidance is, unsurprisingly, a family law attorney who wears two hats, namely, that of a divorce litigator and also that of a certified mediator. By no means are all divorce attorneys grounded in mediation, which requires special training and skills, so one who is can provide invaluable input on both litigated and mediated divorce and the process that might be best in a particular case.

One point noted by Danois is tempo, by which she means the timing and pace of divorce. Litigated divorce typically has more hoops to jump through than mediated divorce -- for example, court documents to be served and responded to, motions filed, hearings held, conferences, settlement discussions and sometimes a trial -- and takes more time.

Sometimes a divorce involves many contentious points that simply need to be litigated, so the above requirements and attendant delays are readily accepted by divorcing parties and understood as necessary.

But where the parties themselves can control the process, reach agreement on a number of matters and use an experienced mediator to draft all required documents and help expedite the process, mediation can save significant amounts of time, effort and money.

Source: Huffington Post, "Maintaining an active temp in your divorce," Diane L. Danois, April 1, 2013

  • The Siemon Law Firm employs a certified mediator. For more information about the firm and divorce mediation, please visit our Georgia Family Law Mediation page.

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