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Global Guide to Divorce
Jack Jack the Cat

Mediation, Collaborative or Litigation – Which is Best for You?


There are different ways to get divorced to fit individual needs and circumstances. Divorcing couples are required to have a mediation information and assessment meeting to cut down on the cases going to court. Mediation is particularly helpful for spouses who want to keep the door open for a good relationship post-divorce. Negotiating can be like a dialogue where husband and wife explain the rationale behind their requests, such as in dividing assets. They are in control of their outcome with the mediator’s guidance. Although many mediators are also solicitors, they do not give legal advice to either party. Mediation can be completed in as few as three sessions and the cost is much lower than in collaborative or litigation. People who are motivated to work together in discovering a mutually acceptable resolution do well with mediation. Each person can consult with their own solicitor between sessions before signing anything.


Some people who are divorcing difficult spouses may feel more comfortable having their own solicitor during proceedings, as in collaborative divorce. They have their own personal advocate to guide them through negotiations and look out for their interests. While the collaborative solicitors represent their own clients, they work together as a team to ensure a fair settlement for each party. We had a collaborative divorce and I still liked my husband’s solicitor when it was finalized. He even gave me ideas for financial help when his client refused to pay any university expenses for our sons. That would not be happening in litigation. Collaborative divorce brings in experts as needed, such as a financial advisor. Collaborative costs more than mediation but is much less than litigation. Many high profile couples prefer the privacy that is part of the collaborative type of divorce.


There are times where litigation is the way to go. This is particularly true in abuse cases where a spouse is not going to negotiate face to face with their tormentor. I interviewed people who divorced spouses with personality disorders and they only felt safe in a court room. Leaving their fate to a judge was just fine for their situations. Hiring a barrister for court and the lengthy proceedings is the most expensive type of divorce. The court is adversarial in nature and can become a battlefield. Friendlier divorces, such as the first two, make it easier to maintain ties with one’s ex.

First Step in UK

The First Directions Appointment (FDA) is the first meeting with spouses and solicitors before a judge who shows what the gaps are in the evidence presented. The time frame for future hearings is set, although they can be cancelled if compromises are reached. When there are children, Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) will interview them and pertinent people to give a report to the judge. When parents cannot agree, a judge can issue a Residence Order stating with which parent a child will reside, and the Contact Order is the amount of time that the non-resident parent can see them. Midway through divorce the Decree Nisi is granted. Spouses work with their solicitors or barristers to complete their financial arrangements in the Consent Order. Witnesses may be called for the Final Hearing where a judge makes a ruling. A decree Absolute is issued and this finalizes the divorce and both are free to get remarried.

Online Divorce Companies

For those without children who want a simple and cheap divorce, there are online companies that provide forms and guidance. Please read more