Divorce Mediation vs. Litigation


Divorce can be a long, contentious, and expensive process. However, if you and your spouse can communicate in a respectful manner, then there are many benefits to mediation. During mediation, the parties meet with a mediator to reach an agreement regarding property, finances, child custody and other issues. Once an agreement is signed by both parties, it is legally binding. Here are some of the benefits of mediation versus litigation:

You determine the outcome. In court, the facts are argued and decisions are made by the judge. Mediation allows you to have control over your destiny, instead of placing it in the hands of a judge who doesn’t live with the outcome. Mediated agreements produce greater buy-in than court-ordered pronouncements.

You save money. The cost of mediation is considerably less than that of litigation. The fees for mediation are typically split between the parties, so that each party has a vested interest in the outcome.

You preserve the relationship. Mediation is collaborative, not adversarial. Attorneys come to court prepared to advocate. Often, unflattering things are said, which can never be unsaid. This often creates resentment and hostility. Mediation is focused on problem-solving and not winning versus losing. Although you will cease being Husband and Wife you will never cease to be Mom and Dad.

You set the timetable. Litigation can take a long time, and you are at the mercy of the court when it comes to scheduling. The longer a trial continues, the more contentious it becomes. When you work with a mediator, you schedule mutually convenient times to meet.

You can address issues that a court cannot. During a trial, you will not have the opportunity for discussion of all of your concerns. But a divorce isn’t just about the law: there are many issues involved, for spouses and their children. During mediation, the parties talk about what they want and why.

If you are preparing for a divorce, consider mediation, and determine if it is workable for your circumstances.

It is important to note that even if the mediator is an attorney, the mediator does not represent you or your spouse, so plan to hire an experienced family law attorney to represent your specific needs and interests.


Linda Sorg Ostovitz is a family law attorney. Her legal experience spans more than 39 years, during which she served as a leader, educator and advocate. Mrs. Ostovitz holds a prestigious fellowship in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, is on the board of the Howard County Chamber of Commerce, Respite Retreats, and is the President of the Rotary Club of Columbia Patuxent. She was awarded one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women in 2015 and 2019 and was named a Community Hero by Her Mind Live. Her practice focuses exclusively on divorce litigation, mediation, custody, access, support, alimony, business valuation, as well as property and asset distribution.

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