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Mediation vs. Litigation in Divorce: A (Very Simplified) List of Pros and Cons


Let’s take your average middle- to upper-middle-class family.

You have a house, two cars, a few toys (e.g. motorcycle, snowmobile), send your kids to good schools, have saved quite a bit in a 401(k) (here are two valuable tips no one told you about retirement accounts in divorce), and an investment account that has returned average to above-average gains through the years.

Your lifestyle generally means you aren’t living paycheck to paycheck, but neither (like many families) do you have unlimited means – which makes the prospect of divorce a serious stressor in terms of finances.

At the end of the day, you need to be prudent with your finances, and it’s important to know that both mediation and litigation have their place in resolving a divorce. That said, here is a simplified list of pros and cons in mediation vs. litigation.

Mediating Your Divorce

Pro: More control over the outcome, which often leads to a win-win.

Con: Requires that aggrieved spouses come to the table willing to work together to resolve the divorce.

Pro: Tends to save both time and money.

Con: Mediation is usually non-binding, which means that the parties can subsequently engage in litigation if negotiations fail.

Litigating Your Divorce

Pro: Litigation may be perfect for those who have a strong legal argument and support for why a particular issue is theirs to win (e.g. child custody, spousal support).

Con: There tends to be less control over the outcome, putting the ultimate decision in a judge’s hands.

Pro: For those who recognize the value in remaining objective, litigation can be used to resolve the most important matters, while ceding minor issues to the other spouse.

Con: Tends to cost more in terms of time and money.

This list of pros and cons can only take you so far.

For legal advice tailored to your situation, call the Denver lawyers of Ciancio Ciancio Brown, P.C. at <strong>330-395-4773</strong>. Our goal is to put your mind somewhat at ease and give you an idea in terms of what you can expect.


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Litigation is a journey. This is a journey we have taken with our clients a countless number of times. If you face the uncertainty, risk, fear, anger, or disbelief that comes with the prospect of going through a legal dispute, the law firm of Ciancio Ciancio Brown, P.C. will help you through it.