Timeline a Divorce: Mediation Versus Litigation
Facing divorce can leave you feeling as if you have no choice but to grit and bear it. You may feel destined for a long, bitter courtroom battle. Fortunately, there is more than one way to get a divorce in Massachusetts. While litigating in court is the traditional method, divorce mediation is another option. You and your spouse will take an adversarial stance in the courtroom if you choose to litigate. You and your spouse will amicably work together to hash out the details of your divorce on your own terms if you choose to mediate. Litigation and mediation are two very different routes to a divorce and both follow a different timeline. You should learn how these timelines differ before choosing which option is right for you.
The timeline of divorce litigation is determined, in part, by the court calendar. After the initial filing, you will need to serve your spouse, which can take several attempts. After you serve your spouse, he or she will have a certain amount of time in which to respond. You may have hearings on certain issues such as temporary orders after the response. The structure of litigation is not conducive to efficient compromise. Divorces in litigation can stretch on for months, even longer if they head to trial. Pre-trial procedures, such as the exchange of facts and information, can be quite time-consuming. All this time equals money and resources spent. It also draws out the process of divorce, which is unpleasant as it is already.
Mediation follows a timeline largely independent of the court. Mediation does not rely on the involvement of the court during all but the final part of the divorce. You do not need to schedule your mediation around court holidays and courtroom dockets. You can schedule your mediation sessions around your and your spouse’s schedule. How long your divorce will take will be mostly in your control if you and your spouse are prepared and motivated to complete the mediation process efficiently. Many mediators have flexible scheduling, meaning you can communicate or meet with them after your work hours or on weekends in some cases. If your mediation is successful, you simply need to submit your separation agreement and final papers to the court for a judge to review. You will have to appear at a hearing wherein the judge will either sign off on the papers or make changes, however, working with an experienced divorce mediator can help ensure the judge approves your papers as is.
If you have questions about the divorce process, Mediation Advantage Services can assist you. Experienced in divorce mediation, Polly A. Tatum can help you efficiently mediate your divorce, saving you the cost and stress of litigation and preserving your peace of mind. Based in historic Worcester with a satellite office in Northboro, MA, our firm serves all cities and towns throughout Massachusetts and Worcester County including, Auburn, Paxton, Leicester, Sutton, Grafton, Shrewsbury, Westboro, Northboro, Southboro, Holden, Sterling, Princeton, Worcester, Charlton, Millbury, Dudley, Spencer, Brookfield, Sudbury, Natick, Framingham, Hopkinton, Milford, Blackstone, Leominster, Fitchburg, Acton, Jefferson, Barre, Oakham, Cambridge, Newton, Marlboro, Lancaster, Bolton, and Hudson. Call our office at (508) 795-1557, fill out our online form, or email us at [email protected] today to schedule your Complimentary Mediation Success Planning Session. You can also sign up for our eNewsletter or download our free e-book for more information regarding divorce in Massachusetts.