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Divorcing? Should You Litigate or Mediate?


When considering divorce, clients are usually familiar with going to court and fighting. More and more couples are learning there are effective, peaceful options.

Some spouses want to fight but others don’t. Having a choice is truly a gift. Finding the right path requires thoughtful consideration, skilled professional guidance and superior legal strategy.

As a psychologically-trained divorce attorney/mediator for over 35 years, I have successfully guided many, many spouses towards the path that is right for them and their family.

Believe it or not, there are those spouses who only want to fight. But for those open to a non-adversarial option, there is a more positive and peaceful solution—it’s mediation. Litigation is not the only choice.

Both paths, litigation and mediation, lead to a divorce, but the journey, emotional and financial investment, and the process are very different.

Let me guide you for the best path for you!


Under the traditional system, imported from England originally, couples went to court to obtain a divorce.

Each spouse hires his or her own "advocate," and they engage in what is normally an adversarial process. The steps can include negotiation between the attorneys. If or when this is not working, there is always the threat of

"going to court," where a judge will make decisions about all the issues, including custody and visitation, child support, spousal support, and the division of property.

The court process is particularly daunting. It includes serving a summons and complaint, an answer, and exchanging financial information and documents. This exchange is called "discovery," and it is, in fact, a way to find

out the facts about the parties' finances. It can include subpoenas served on banks, businesses and third parties. It may also include applications made to the court for various types of relief, such as temporary child and spousal support,

interim custody, and counsel fees.

Once you get locked into the system, it is extremely hard to find your way out. It is expensive, time-consuming, and emotionally draining. Ultimately, it may be the only vehicle for warring couples of a certain ilk. In some cases I call this the vehicle used to “punish.” This path is often attractive to spouses who want revenge, enjoy conflict, and seek to maintain control over the other spouse.


This path to divorce involves working with an unbiased mediator, usually a lawyer, whose function it is to assist a couple in a peaceful process, to make decisions together and arrive at an agreement that is fair to both.

For people who have never experienced it, mediation is surprisingly and stunningly effective. It is quick, inexpensive, and not

adversarial. It is a three-part process, consisting of the negotiations, the preparation of an agreement, and preparation and submission of the divorce documents to a judge for signature.

In the last decade, mediation has become the popular choice of many divorcing couples, especially millennials.

For some spouses in abusive relationships, continuing to struggle in an unhealthy marriage is no longer acceptable-life is just too short.

I have guided many individuals on how to safely discuss divorce with their spouse, and how to introduce mediation as a positive, less expensive alternative to going to court.

I can help you too!

If you are thinking of divorcing and would like to discuss litigation vs. mediation, call me. We can talk about the details of your marriage and select the best path for you.

As a psychologically-trained divorce attorney and mediator, I will compassionately guide you towards the best option for you and your family.

For those of you not quite ready for divorce, there are other options, like a separation or postnuptial agreement.

Call me today and we can discuss the right path for you. My consultations, which are free, are informative and comprehensive.

All our FREE 1 HOUR CONSULTATIONS are still available virtually.

We still have appointments available for this week.

I look forward to helping you.

Warm regards,


When it comes to your future and that of your family, don’t leave anything to chance.

Call New York Divorce Lawyer Lois M. Brenner, Esq. to schedule your free consultation. 212.734.1551.