Navigating a divorce can be a tricky process. There are many options to settle divorce both in or out of court. Here are the pros and cons of divorce mediation vs a lawyer.

Divorce mediation offers spouses more privacy and control over their divorce agreement, but mediators do not offer legal advice and may not work for everyone. A lawyer can help offer legal protection from abusive relationships and settle issues where couples cannot reach an agreement; however, attorneys can be costly and spouses may have less privacy and control over the outcome of their case.

What is Divorce Mediation?

Divorce mediation is where an unbiased third party assists a couple in settling divorce matters outside of court. Divorce mediation is a great option for couples that mutually decide to separate and wish to settle the details of divorce without a judge. A divorce mediator is a trained, objective third party who can guide each spouse through the mediation process.

What is Divorce Litigation?

Divorce litigation is when a couple cannot reach an agreement on their own and settles their divorce with a judge. Attorneys represent each spouse in court and the judge typically makes the final divorce decisions for the couple.

Pros of Divorce Mediation

More Privacy

Divorce mediation happens completely in private. The only people involved in the divorce mediation process are the divorcing spouses and the divorce mediator. No records are made public and everything is settled privately.

More Control and Cooperation

Divorce mediation requires compromise from both parties, which allows each party to control the outcome of their divorce. The divorcing spouses are the primary actors during divorce mediation and exercise a considerable amount of influence over the final decisions. Both parties can offer their needs and solutions in divorce negotiations.

Since both parties must cooperate during divorce mediation, the final agreements are much more satisfactory to both spouses. Divorce mediation can help spouses reach agreements that are easy to uphold and honor.

Related: 7 Benefits of Divorce Mediation in California

Cons of Divorce Mediation

No Legal Advice

Mediators do not provide legal advice. Divorce mediators are not always certified lawyers and can only help couples work through their mutual divorce agreements. Only lawyers can provide valuable insight to the legal issues pertaining to each couple’s unique situation. However, divorce mediation attorneys do exist and have a deeper understanding of both divorce procedures and how to properly settle divorce disputes. Understanding the legal consequences of divorce is very important; spouses should consult a lawyer during the divorce mediation process.

Not Realistic for Everyone

Divorce mediation requires couples to be amicable and compromising, which may not be realistic for everyone. Couples that are more adversarial or hostile will likely not be able to reach an agreement through divorce mediation. In more tense divorces, getting a lawyer to settle disputes through litigation may be a couple’s best option.

Pros of Getting a Lawyer

Settling Issues

Divorce litigation is typically the best choice for couples that cannot reach an agreement outside of court. The judge acts as a third party who makes decisions for couples that are unable to reach an agreement in divorce mediation.

Protection in Abusive Relationships

For spouses in abusive relationships, getting a lawyer is the best way to get a fair settlement and protection from their abuser. The court offers legal pathways for people in abusive relationships to get away from their abuser and protect their rights in divorce.

Related: How Domestic Violence Affects Divorce in California

Cons of Getting a Lawyer

Greater Costs

Getting a lawyer for divorce typically costs far more than litigation. An individual must pay their lawyer for every aspect of the divorce process, including communication, formal discovery, and court appearances. Divorce cases can last for months and spouses will need to keep their lawyer throughout the entire process.

Less Privacy

Settling a divorce in court is far less private than divorce mediation. Many more people are involved with the court’s divorce process like judges, clerks, attorneys, and other relevant parties. Sensitive information is shared to more people. Additionally, divorces in court are public record and accessible to anyone.

 Less Control

When spouses take their divorce issues to court, they leave the final decisions in other people’s hands. The judge makes the final decisions about key aspects of family life; the spouses have very little control in a judge’s final decision. Spouses make their case and present the facts of divorce, but a judge ultimately decrees court orders that they believe best reflect California divorce laws.

Related: How to Find the Best Divorce Mediation Near Me

Contact Us

If you or a loved one is weighing the pros and cons of divorce mediation vs getting a lawyer, contact us. We’ll get you in touch with the most qualified mediator or attorney for your unique legal matter. Get your free consultation with one of our California Divorce Mediation Attorneys today!