Choosing Divorce Court Over Mediation or Collaborative Divorce
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Choosing Divorce Court Over Mediation or Collaborative Divorce

Discover why you might want to choose divorce court instead of mediation or collaborative divorce.

What are the Differences Between Traditional Divorce, Mediation, and Collaborative Divorce?

When a marriage has irreparably failed, commonly the spouse’s final objective is to resolve their outstanding issues as fast and painless—both emotional and financial—as feasible. The most typical matters couples are going to face throughout their divorce comprise of:

  • custody and parental time (visitation)
  • child support
  • spousal maintenance (alimony), and
  • splitting the marital property and debt.

Each of your divorce-associated matters are required to be resolved prior to you completing the process. But how to attain that goal depends, largely, on your specific circumstances.

What Comprises of Going Straight to Divorce Court?

When you want to legally terminate your marriage, eventually you’re going to need the courts involvement. But heading straight to court to hash things out, without first trying to resolve your marital matters directly with your spouse, could result in a drawn out, stressful, and costly divorce.

When divorcing spouses cannot reach an agreement on each of their divorce-associated issues, they are going to wind up going through what is known as a “contested” divorce. To start your contested divorce, one of the spouses is required to file a divorce “petition” (also known as a “complaint”) within the court.

There are a multitude of steps for this process. The longest step is typically the discovery period, in which usually takes 2 to 6 months (possibly more), subject to how convoluted your case is. Throughout discovery, spouses are required to exchange all associated financial paperwork (like tax returns, financial institution accounts, and property appraisals), correspondence (including emails), and any other information that may be associated to any facet of the divorce.

Subject to the nature of the contested matters, there could be other court proceedings included, specifically when the spouses have children or temporary support requirements. These might comprise of temporary custody and/or support and spousal maintenance hearings. when the spouses can’t agree on these matters moving forward, a judge is going to have to decide on every contested facet of the case, following a divorce trial. Contested divorces usually takes up to year or more to finish.

The Process of Divorce Mediation

Divorce mediation is a type of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)—in which each party attempts to resolve their matters without going to court. Both of you choose a knowledgeable family law mediator. Unless you agree differently, you’ll split the fee of the mediator. The mediator is going to meet with both of you through sessions, to help you in reaching an agreement on those matters you’re having problems resolving.

When you can to resolve all of your divorce matters, the mediator is going to create a Property Settlement Agreement, also called a Divorce Settlement Agreement, which is going to include all of your agreed-upon conditions. The mediator is going to typically encourage each of you to have your own lawyers examine the agreement prior to you signing it.

You will still have to head to court to officially terminate your marriage, but in this situation, the court is going to examine your settlement agreement, and when approved, it will turn into part of your divorce judgment. It’s not uncommon for an uncontested divorce to finish inside a month or so of the date you filed your petition.

One of the greatest drawbacks to the collaborative method is that if the settlement attempts fail, the collaborative attorneys are going to have to withdraw themselves from the case.

Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative divorce is another type of ADR that is a form of composite between traditional divorces and mediation. However, like mediation, the collaborative process by itself doesn’t actually terminate your marriage.

Using collaborative divorce, you and your spouse are required to each have an attorney who’s experienced in the collaborative law approach represent you during the process. Although laws vary by state, it’s normal procedure for each of you to sign a Collaborative Law Participation Agreement, which mandates specific rules you are required to follow.

In collaborative divorce, the spouses and their lawyer hold several “four-way” sessions, to try to resolve all outstanding matters. Usually, the spouses are also going bring in joint professionals, like joint financial planners or CPA’s, children, and family counselors, and possibly evaluators.

The spouses are required commit to a team-like technique, where everyone is working toward the declared objective of settling all matters outside of court and in a manner that works beneficial for the family.

One of the greatest drawbacks to the collaborative method is that if the settlement attempts fail, the collaborative attorneys are going to have to withdraw themselves from the case.

and can no longer represent the spouses in contested court proceedings. When the spouses quit the collaborative divorce process and end up going to court, they’ll hire new lawyers, with a 2nd coming of legal costs (as well as the collaborative divorce fees).


  1. Joseph Pandolfi, R. J. (2018, October 30). Choosing divorce court over mediation or collaborative divorce. Retrieved October 5, 2021, from

Speak with Our Divorce Mediators in Arizona Today

While the divorce mediation process is not for everyone, it can save you money, stress, and hassle. Speak with a professional divorce mediator to find out if divorce mediation is right for your family.

Let us show you how divorce mediation can be a perfect solution to allow you to end your marriage today without ending your family.

If you’re ready to start your consultation with Ogborne Law, visit our Mediation Consultation request page.

Ogborne Law can help with divorce mediation in Phoenix, Arizona, and surrounding areas. Our law office is located at 5020 E Shea Blvd Suite 240, Scottsdale, AZ 85254 inside the Paradise Valley Plaza.

Let us show you how divorce mediation can be a perfect solution to allow you to end your marriage today without ending your family.

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