Those who are going through divorce generally have three options: go through it on your own, litigate, or use an alternative dispute resolution process like mediation. There are few situations when going through divorce on your own makes sense. If the split is amicable, the marriage short, and the assets few a self-serve divorce can be a viable option.
If this is not the case one of the other two options is likely a better choice.
How does mediation work?
Mediation involves a neutral third-party guiding negotiation between the divorcing couple with the goal of putting together a divorce settlement agreement.
How does litigation work?
This option is what people often envision when picturing divorce. It involves the traditional courtroom setting with both parties presenting their case and a judge finalizing the settlement.
Do I have to choose one or the other?
Divorces are often a combination of the two. The divorcing couple may resolve legal disputes through mediation and have the court sign off on their final agreement. Even those that wish to follow a traditional courtroom style divorce may find themselves sent to mediation as courts will often require the use of mediation to resolve certain legal disputes. In Wisconsin, courts generally require parents attempt to resolve disagreements about child custody through mediation.
This is just one example of a case that would benefit from a combination of mediation and litigation. It is also important not to confuse collaboration and negotiations with a failure to protect one’s interests. It is generally wise to have legal counsel provide guidance throughout the divorce process whether choosing litigation or mediation.