Mediation is a method of dispute resolution through the active participation of a third party who works to find points of agreement and aid the conflicting parties in agreeing on a fair result.  The mediator cannot make decisions for the participants, rather, he will facilitate an agreement between the parties.  I am an evaluative mediator, which means that I also evaluate the parties’ positions and give feedback to the parties.  An attorney mediator can also prepare and file the proper court documents in order to accurately portray the agreement in a legally-binding court order.  While mediation does not always result in settlement, it has a very high rate of success.


Litigation is what we typically think of as a lawsuit.  It is the act of bringing a conflict in front of a judge for a decision.  An attorney in a litigated divorce will act as an advocate for one party and work for their interests.  When litigating a divorce, an attorney will always have the trial in mind and will expend some time and effort in compiling evidence and potential witnesses during the process.  The trial pits one party against the other in front of a judge who will render the final decision.  This does not mean that the parties cannot come to an agreement prior to a trial.  In fact, most cases do settle before then.  The parties may participate in an informal settlement conference, which consists of the parties and their attorneys discussing the case together in a conference room, or the parties can simply exchange settlement letters until an agreement is reached.  Often in Arizona family courts, the court will order the parties to take part in formal alternative dispute resolution processes.


Pro's and Con's of Mediation


  • Your information is kept private

  • Less formal and less stressful

  • Typically, less expensive

  • Predictable costs

  • Less conflict and win/win solutions

  • quicker


  • Both parties need to agree to mediate

  • If mediation fails, the parties must then litigate

  • Your mediator cannot represent you in a litigation case

Pro's and Con's of Litigation


  • You have a legal advocate

  • Less interaction with opposing party

  • Preferred when domestic abuse is present

  • Preferred when a large power differential exists


  • Can create even more friction

  • Is typically costlier

  • More win-lose

  • Personal information is made public

  • The court system is slow