When a marriage ends, it can mark a dramatic change of course. If you’re at this crossroads, deciding whether to litigate your divorce in court or go through mediation can be one of your primary concerns. Understanding the options can help you make an informed decision that will dramatically affect the process and your expectations.

Choosing your path: mediation vs. litigation

Mediation is often the preferred route for resolving divorce-related matters. There are several benefits, including:

  • It’s private, keeping the details of your divorce between you and your spouse.
  • You and your spouse have control over the final agreement.
  • Mediation can be less expensive and faster than litigation.
  • It encourages cooperation, which can be beneficial if you have children.

Mediation can be the preferred route if you prioritize cooperative solutions and getting through the process as efficiently as possible.

On the other hand, litigation is what people often imagine when they think about divorce. It is a formal court proceeding overseen by a judge who ultimately decides the outcome. It involves attorneys arguing your case before the court, adhering to strict legal protocols. Here’s a look at what to expect with litigation:

  • It’s a public process, so details of your divorce may become part of the public record.
  • A judge will make decisions on issues that parties could not resolve themselves.
  • There are more rules and structures to litigation, minimizing unfair or unsound agreements.
  • It can also be more confrontational, which may add stress during an already difficult time.

Some cases are too complex or contentious for parties to resolve themselves, which is where litigation can be necessary.

Texas law offers unique provisions and considerations for both litigation and mediation. For instance, Texas law supports mediation, particularly in matters involving children. This means even if you want to or plan to litigate your divorce, you might experience mediation as part of the process.

Charting your course

Deciding between litigation and mediation is a personal choice and depends on the details of your situation. Consider the relationship with your spouse, your financial circumstances and what may be best for your children if you have them. No one can promise you smooth sailing, but understanding more about the divorce process and your options can help you steer clear of missteps.