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Mediation vs. Litigation: The Pros and Cons for Missouri Divorces

Missouri divorces are never easy, even when you know it’s the right decision. Divorces are not only emotional but can take a toll on your mental state given how many decisions you need to make that could affect you for years to come.

The process can be made somewhat more manageable when you opt to use mediation rather than jump right into the litigation process. Below, you will learn more about each of these options, as well as the pros and cons they offer.

What Is Litigation?

Litigation occurs when the divorce is contested. This means that the spouses cannot agree on certain conflicts that come up in the Missouri divorces. This could include things like division of property, custody, and support, for example. In cases where agreements can’t be reached, they will go to court and the judge will make the final decision on how those issues are resolved.

Are there any pros to litigation? Sometimes mediation won’t work because of the personalities of those involved. There may be cases where one spouse simply refuses even to attempt to work together or meet in the middle. In those cases, litigation will likely be the only path forward.

Generally, the main “pro” to litigation is for those cases where someone can’t work with their spouse to settle. With litigation, the judge and the courts will handle the outcome based on the facts and evidence provided.

Of course, there are some major cons to litigation, as well. While you are allowed to represent yourself, most will find that working with an attorney is a better solution. They have the knowledge and expertise to help you with your case and ensure you aren’t making any mistakes or hasty decisions that could cost you.

Of course, attorneys aren’t free, so there is that added cost. These sorts of cases can last for months, which takes up time and even more money for legal fees. Whenever possible, mediation should be considered.

What Is Mediation?

Divorce mediation is a method of dispute resolution that utilizes a third party to help settle various issues. The mediator will be a neutral party that will hear both parties’ concerns and needs, and will then help them to better understand their arguments. They will also provide suggestions on how the parties can reach agreements in conflict areas.

Typically, you and your spouse will choose a mediator and pay for the process yourself. However, some judges may require that couples go through mediation before they go to trial. Some courts may offer free mediation services.

The process of meditation could last for just a single session or it could last for several weeks. It will all depend on a variety of factors including how many topics need to be addressed, their complexity, and how well the spouses can cooperate and read agreements.

One of the first benefits that come from using mediation is a lower cost. In most cases, you will find that going through a mediator will help to reduce the amount spent on the divorce substantially.

Additionally, you and your spouse will have more control over the outcome of your divorce when you can find ways to agree. In litigation, the judge will have the final say and neither spouse may be happy with the results. Mediation can help you come to a resolution that is at least somewhat agreeable to both you and your spouse.

The mediation is entirely confidential. No one aside from those directly involved in the mediation will know what’s said or agreed to. This helps to ensure more privacy than a public divorce.

Another thing to keep in mind is that mediation can help to speed up the process of Missouri divorces. Even though you may spend a few weeks in mediation, it is often much faster than setting a court date. The courts are often backlogged and it could take months of waiting before you can see a judge and get your divorce case underway.

Typically, there are no negatives associated with mediation. It is a tried and true process that works well for couples dealing with divorce. If one spouse refuses to budge on certain issues or all issues, the case will need to go through litigation.

After a successful mediation and a settlement agreement, you will provide the court with the documentation. They will review the agreement and provide you with a final divorce decree.

Work with Professionals When Getting Divorced in Missouri

Whether you are going to try mediation or litigation, make sure you work with reputable professionals with plenty of experience in the field. Some attorneys are also mediators. Just keep in mind that the mediator is neutral, so you can’t use your divorce lawyer as your mediator since there would be a conflict of interest.

Contact the experts at J. Rench Law Firm, LLC by calling (314) 725-4000 regarding Missouri divorces. The attorneys can help you determine whether mediation, collaborative divorce, or another approach will be in your best interest.

Related Content: Biggest Mistakes Lawyers Make in Mediation



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