Divorce Process Comparison Chart

There are much better ways to divorce than through a protracted, stressful, and costly litigation battle – like through mediation or the team-oriented collaborative divorce process. The following information summarizes the aspects of litigation and these alternative methods:

Feature Mediation Collaborative Law Litigation
Process Non Adversarial Non Adversarial Adversarial
Which process is right for you?

Both parties must agree to participate. There is no real fear of domestic violence.

You can speak for yourself and listen to the views of your spouse.

You don’t want to entrust decisions regarding your children or property to a judge.

Both parties must agree to participate. There is no real fear of domestic violence.

You prefer to have an attorney with you, but don’t wish to incur the emotional and financial costs of court.

You don’t want to entrust decisions regarding your children or property to a judge.

The other side refuses to cooperate participate. There is a real fear of domestic violence.

You believe that your spouse will be dishonest in a non adversarial process.

You don’t mind if a judge decides what to do with your children and property.

Mediator

Neutral. Gives information but not advice. Helps spouses address contentious issues. Allows each spouse to “be heard” in a safe setting.

Absent. Absent.
Attorney

Not required, but may be consulted or present to review the final agreement.

Advises client. Advocates for client. Acts as a “team” with the other lawyer to resolve contentious issues and to reach agreement. Is non-adversarial with other spouse. Communicates directly with other spouse during 4-way meetings.

Advises client. Advocates for client. Adversarial with other lawyer and spouse. Does not communicate with other spouse.

Financial
Information

All financial information voluntarily disclosed.

All financial information voluntarily disclosed.

Parties are mandated by court order to exchange financial information.

The Process

Series of 3-way sessions between the mediator and the two parties. Attorneys may be present.

Meetings between attorney and client. Four-way meetings among parties and their attorneys.

Meetings between attorney and client.Court appearances, including (if needed) motions, depositions, and trial.

Costs

Least expensive. Hourly fees for sessions, no retainer.Flat fee for drafting agreement.If expert fees apply, parties often agree to use neutral experts.

Less expensive than litigation. Hourly fees with initial retainer. If experts are required, parties often agree to use neutral experts. Fees include meetings, correspondence, and drafting of agreement.

Hourly fees with initial retainer. Court filing fees. Each party often uses and pays own expert. Fees include meeting, correspondence, drafting of documents and motions, and court appearances. An additional retainer is often needed if a trial is necessary.

Cheryl Stein, Esq. is an experienced matrimonial attorney, divorce mediator, and collaborative lawyer, and will assist you in determining the optimal method for your circumstances. She will help you preserve your dignity and your bank account during the most difficult time of your life.

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Contact Us

Feel free to contact us anytime by using any of the following methods:

646-884-2324
cheryl@cherylsteinesq.com