Legal Guide

Divorce Choices: Choosing Between an Attorney and Mediation

Choosing between using a divorce lawyer and opting for mediation alone depends on various factors, including the complexity of the divorce, your relationship with your ex-partner, and your preferences. For many people, mediation is a tempting option. For others, a divorce lawyer will make the most sense. If you and your ex-spouse are having trouble getting along, there has been any abuse, or you aren't confident in your ability to negotiate with each other, a divorce lawyer might be your best option. An internet search such as "divorce lawyer Waterbury CT" can help you find highly-rated local options. On the other hand, amicable couples who are still able to communicate well may be better served by using a mediation service for their divorce. Here is a breakdown of both options:

Using a Divorce Lawyer

Using a divorce lawyer to help with the legal aspects of your separation has several advantages. When you are in the middle of a divorce, it’s hard to know the best way to proceed. You are grieving and making unemotional decisions can be difficult. Even in the best of separations, a sense of loss, change, and uncertainty is natural. In more difficult divorces, there can be a lot of stress and turmoil. A lawyer can help you feel like you aren’t making decisions on your own and that you have someone in your court, ready to give you clear-minded advice.

Possibly most importantly, a divorce lawyer will provide you with legal expertise, guiding you through the legal processes, paperwork, and requirements. You won’t have to spend time and mental effort struggling to find the forms you need, figure out which laws apply to your case, and navigate the deadlines and legalese of the court system.

You will also have an advocate if you hire a divorce lawyer. Your lawyer represents your interests, ensuring your rights are protected and advocating for the best possible outcome. With a lawyer, you won’t have to wonder which actions can be used against you and how to handle situations like the division of property and child-care arrangements. You will feel more confident in the decisions you make.

During the weeks preceding the actual divorce, your lawyer will assist with negotiations to help you and your spouse navigate the difficult and sometimes emotional landscape of separation. Your lawyers will negotiate on your behalf, aiming to reach a fair settlement regarding assets, custody, support, and other crucial matters. They will consider you and your spouse's needs and desires as well as the needs of any children, your past lifestyle, and the legal restrictions and requirements in your jurisdiction. 

Finally, your lawyer will provide legal representation for you both in and out of the courtroom. If the divorce goes to court, your lawyer will represent you, presenting your case and fighting for your interests. They will document and present any evidence that you have for your situation and can advise you on what to say and do (and what not to say or do) during legal proceedings.

Using Mediation Alone for Your Divorce

Mediation allows you to employ collaborative feedback. During this process, you and your ex-partner work together with a neutral mediator to negotiate and reach agreements regarding the terms of the divorce. This method works well with couples who are divorcing or separating amicably and who communicate well with each other. For these people, calm discussion and back-and-forth dialog can be more productive and feel less invasive compared with using lawyers and court procedures to make important decisions. 

In addition to being less invasive, mediation tends to be less expensive than hiring lawyers. This is because it involves one mediator instead of separate legal representation for both parties and in many cases, mediators charge less than lawyers. If you and your ex-spouse get along very well, you may be able to file for divorce, complete the necessary paperwork, and make most or all relevant decisions without a mediator. This will leave you with very little to discuss in court or with your mediator, saving you even more time and money.

Mediation can also help to save your relationship with each other. Even if you aren’t going to stay married, mediation can promote healthier communication and help maintain a better post-divorce relationship, which is particularly beneficial when children are involved. Having an amicable, or even friendly, relationship with your ex can help you all co-parent well as you raise your children, allowing you to make large decisions together and support your child’s other parent.

Finally, remember that you will have more control and maintain a greater sense of privacy if you use a mediator. You have more control over the outcome and the process, and you will be able to discuss sensitive matters more openly. Mediation is a private setting compared to court proceedings, and you both will have a greater sense of autonomy and control outside of the courtroom.


Ultimately, the choice between a lawyer and mediation depends on your situation. If the divorce is amicable, you and your ex-partner are willing to work together, and there aren't significant complexities, mediation can be a viable, cost-effective, and more collaborative option. However, if the divorce is complex, involves substantial assets, or if there are disputes that require legal guidance and representation, hiring a divorce lawyer might be more appropriate in order to protect your interests and ensure a fair outcome. Many couples also use a combination of both, where they seek legal advice and then turn to mediation for certain agreements.

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