Which is Better - Divorce Mediation, Collaborative Divorce or Court Litigation?

Posted by William LeiningerFeb 12, 20220 Comments


As one of the few divorce attorneys in Sarasota, Florida who is a Divorce
Mediator appointed by the Supreme Court of the State of Florida, as well as an
experienced Collaborative Divorce lawyer, and a divorce litigator with over 40 years of
Court experience, probably the most frequent question that I am asked at initial
consultations is what would be the best method for that person to get divorced in

They want to know whether Divorce Mediation would be best for them, when they
should consider Collaborative Divorce, and when they should just file a divorce action
against their spouse.

My experience in handling over 800 divorce mediations tells me that for 90
percent of people who want to get divorced, Divorce Mediation is usually the best
method of proceeding. Pre-suit divorce mediation, that is, when you and your spouse
hire an experienced Divorce Mediator before either of you file suit for divorce to mediate
your marital dispute so that all issues including custody, parenting time, alimony, if
applicable, child support, and equitable distribution of marital assets and debts can all
be worked out, generally in a few weeks and at a very reasonable cost.
If Divorce Mediation is so good for most people, why would anyone consider
Collaborative Divorce? Collaborative Divorce involves each spouse hiring their own
divorce attorney who has special training in Collaborative Divorce. Both spouses and
their attorneys agree in writing that they will not commence a divorce action while the
Collaborative Divorce process is ongoing. If either party wishes to stop the
Collaborative Divorce negotiations and commence a divorce action, that person's
attorney is disqualified from continuing to represent that party wishing to go into Court.
In my experience, Collaborative Divorce is frequently the better option where my
proposed client has a very tough spouse. For example, supposing my potential client is
married to an orthopedic surgeon, with a Type A personality and possibly also is
narcissistic. In other words, if you want to get divorced, but your spouse always
believes that he or she is right and you are wrong, and your spouse always insists upon
taking care of the money aspects of the marriage, and handles all of your investments,
that is a case where you might be better off having your own collaborative divorce
attorney. While in Divorce Mediation, most of our clients do not bring attorneys with
them because they want to save thousands of dollars, in Collaborative Divorce you
each will have your own divorce attorney sitting right next to you and giving you
guidance at each step of the process.

If you and your spouse have attempted kitchen table settlement talks and they
have proven unsuccessful or if you and your spouse have attempted Pre-suit Divorce
Mediation and it has proven unsuccessful, then you may very well have a case which
recommends itself for you to have your attorney commence the divorce action and use
the Court process to obtain all financial records, and to compel your spouse to

With regards to cost, Divorce Mediation is almost always the cheapest way to
proceed. Collaborative Divorce is usually more expensive than Pre-suit mediation, but
much less expensive than a full contested trial. A fully-contested divorce trial involving
substantial assets or serious custody claims can easily generate legal fees of
$50,000.00 or more for each party!

Thus, it is important if you are considering divorce to utilize the least expensive
method which is appropriate in your case. After our 30-minute free divorce consultation,
I will know enough about the facts of your case to give you guidance as to which
method of proceeding towards

We offer Saturday and Evening appointments for your Free 30 minute Divorce
Consultation so that you won't have to take off from work or childcare just to meet with
us. Please call us at 941-727-5555 to schedule the Free Consultation. There is NO
Obligation, and No pressure to hire us. We will tell you to think it over before making a
decision since divorce is a big step in your life. Whichever option you decide to pursue,
our goal will be to let you get divorced with dignity and with as little harm to any children
whom God has given to you and your spouse.

Bill Leininger.