To Mediate or to Litigate ? - That is the Question !




Step 1

Consult with an attorney. In this meeting you will find out how much the attorney charges and how strong your case is.

Free initial consultation.  Orientation with Mediator. In this meeting the couple asks questions about mediation and the mediator helps you realize that you can do this without going to court.

Time: 90 Minutes

Time: 30 Minutes to 1 hour

Step 2


Prepare Documents to File or respond. Your attorney will prepare the documents to file with the court and will arrange to have a constable serve your spouse those papers.


Fill out forms. These forms will provide me with the information I need to begin the process.  I will also educate you about all aspects of your divorce. Different statutes will be provided and discussed so you can see how the courts treat certain issues.

Time:2 hours

Time: 2 hours



Step 3


Service of papers. Preparation of Interrogatories.  Scheduling if Depositions.  Preparation of pre-trial motions. You will be put on a waiting list from the constable to have the divorce papers served to your spouse on a first come first serve basis. If your spouse is avoiding the service of papers then this process could take much longer.


Begin Mediation Sessions and discuss temporary needs both in parenting and any immediate financial concerns like who will make which payments on what. This helps to make sure that both parties will feel comfortable about all the financial needs until the divorce is finalized.

The mediator will help the couple tailor a parenting plan that is customized for their situation.

The mediator will help the couple reach agreements on a weekly parenting plan, a holiday plan, transportation issues, and how to deal with one or the other parent moving away. The mediators will provide examples of what other couples have done to ensure a successful parenting plan. A session summary will be provided to each spouse that summarizes what was discussed.

Time: 4 weeks to 10 weeks

Time: Week One. 2 hour session.

Step 4


Motion Hearing for Temporary relief for support payment of debts splitting of assets and custody. Assuming your spouse's attorney does not contest the initial filing, your attorney will have a meeting with a commissioner (judge) to establish how the monies and children will be handled while waiting for the divorce to finish


Continue Mediation sessions and finish parenting plan. The mediators will talk about how child support works and will provide calculations on the amount child support will be. There will also be discussion on other support issues like medical insurance, extra-curricular expenses, daycare, college expenses and much more. A session summary will be provided to each spouse that summarizes what was discussed.

Time: 4 weeks

Time: Week Two. 2 hour session.

Step 5


Postponement of hearing to gather Documents. Usually your attorneys will need additional time to gather information and will ask each other and the courts for extensions that could add months to the proceedings especially if there is a lot of debts and/or assets and high conflict.


Continue Mediation sessions and discuss separation of Assets and Debts. In this session we focus on the financial aspect of the divorce.

Time: 1 month or 2 months

Time: Week Three. 2 hour session.

Step 6


Discovery Phase. Gathering evidence and gathering testimony. In this phase the attorneys meet with the other spouses and their attorneys to get questions answered about various issues. You are required to be forthcoming in these proceedings however if one party does not come prepared then this can likely become a very lengthy process lasting 5-6 months.



Continue Mediation sessions and begin discussion on Spousal support issues. In this session I will talk about what each party should consider when determining alimony. I talk about the guidelines the courts use and make sure that both parties get to have input. A session summary will be provided to each spouse that summarizes what was discussed.

Time: 3-4 months

Time: Week Four. 2 hour session.

Step 7


Professional analysis of financial issues. Either attorney may want to get an expert opinion on various financial issues to include pension plans, inheritance, stock options and in the event that a business is owned by the parties they will need an independent valuation on the business.


Finish discussion on spousal support issues and finish mediation sessions. Any other issues that have not been resolved will be covered here. The mediators will make sure that they have all the information they need to create the final agreement. A session summary will be provided to each spouse that summarizes what was discussed.

Time: 1-2 months

Time: Week Five. 2 hour session.

Step 8



Custody Evaluation. If there is any question of conflict as to who the children should live with and what the visitation should be the courts will require a Professional custody evaluation. Normally both parties split this cost. The evaluator takes several weeks talking to neighbors, teachers, and the children then offers their professional opinion to the judge. The judge typically uses this information in making a decision about what will happen to the children.



In this session you will have an opportunity to review the entire agreement. The Clients will then be instructed to have a legal counsel review the Agreement. Then you will sign the agreement in front of a notary.

Time: 2 months

Step 9


Actual trial. The trial will last about 2 days and depending on how much preparation is needed can be the most expensive portion of the divorce. This is where the Judge will make a final decision on how the children will be handled and the separation of the debts and assets.

Time: 3-5 months


Step 10


Hearing to enforce Judges decision. In the event that you or your spouse don't obey the judge's decision on any of the issues then you are forced to go back to court to have the judge enforce the ruling. While this does not happen all of the time, it is still very common and sometimes necessary if one spouse is depending on the other for financial support.


Time: 2 months

Time: -0-





Total Time Spent: 18-24 months

Total Time Spent: 4-5 weeks




Total Cost: $10,000 to $25,000 EACH and could be much more

Total Cost: $800 to $5,000 total

It's your decision.  What makes better sense?