What’s the Difference Between Litigation, Mediation, and Collaboration?

Connecticut has one of the lowest divorce rates in the United States. However, many couples here struggle to cope with a marriage breakdown. The good news is that there is no one path to divorce, but many different routes. Mediation and collaboration are two popular alternatives to traditional divorce that might interest you. But what do these involve? Let’s clear up the confusion.


First, let’s look at the traditional route to divorce — sometimes called “litigation.” This is the type of divorce you often see in movies and TV shows, where a court resolves the many issues that arise from a marriage breakdown. The litigation route certainly isn’t for everyone, but it provides benefits for many couples.

With litigation, you attend a family court, where a judge determines divorce-related issues such as child custody, child support, and shared assets. Depending on the complexities of your case, the litigation process can take many months — and sometimes, years — to resolve. Litigation can be an extremely stressful experience for many. The process can also be expensive, especially when a couple can’t seem to agree on anything.

But sometimes litigation just makes sense. When couples can’t agree on issues — and have exhausted over methods like mediation — going to court is the only way to finalize their divorce.

There are many drawbacks to litigation in Connecticut, though. With this method, couples are at the mercy of a judge who determines the specifics of the divorce. This might work out in your favor, but it might. In many circumstances, it’s impossible to predict the outcome of traditional litigation.

This is why you need a reliable lawyer in Connecticut who can guide you through the entire divorce process and represent you in court. You might want to represent yourself but, if you say the wrong thing, you could jeopardize your future.


So what about mediation? This divorce method has become increasingly popular in recent years. It’s a process where a couple resolves conflicts out of court.

There are different approaches to mediation:

A divorcing couple can attend mediation with a neutral third party called a “mediator.”

  • A divorcing couple can attend mediation with their lawyers. This is called a “four-way meeting” because there are four people involved. (Each member of the couple and their respective lawyers.)
  • A person going through the divorce process can consult with a review counsel who provides them with guidance about the mediation process (and other aspects of the divorce.)


Let’s explore each of these methods in further detail:


A mediator has no power to make rulings (unlike a judge) but helps couples negotiate different aspects of their divorce, such as child custody. This informal approach provides couples with many benefits. It serves as an alternative to the Connecticut court process, which can be expensive and stressful.

A good divorce attorney can serve as a mediator for divorcing couples. The attorney stays neutral throughout the entire process, helping both parties negotiate various aspects of their divorce.

Four-way meeting

The mediation process might involve both parties of the divorcing couple and two divorce attorneys in a four-way meeting. This method also allows both parties to discuss the issues associated with their divorce and come to agreements about the future.

During the four-way meeting, a neutral mediator will oversee the process and resolve any conflicts that might arise. If you decide to go down this route, you must hire an impartial mediator who has the experience and professionalism you require.

Review counsel

One or both parties in the divorcing couple might want to discuss the mediation process with a professional. This “review counsel” guides the process and solves any issues that come to light.

NOTE: Connecticut courts have experienced a backlog of divorces (and other legal cases) after reopening during the coronavirus pandemic. Mediation is, therefore, a popular option for many couples right now. 

For more information about mediation, click here


A collaborative divorce — also called collaboration — is another type of divorce in Connecticut that you should know about. Like mediation, collaboration takes place outside of court, making it a less stressful experience for many couples. However, like with all divorce methods, collaboration can still be taxing. This is why many couples meet with a mental health professional to manage stress during the collaboration process.

With collaboration, couples resolve conflicts using various cooperative methods. The objective is to maintain some kind of relationship with your ex-partner. During the collaboration, couples agree on different aspects of their divorce with attorneys. Before this process takes place, both parties agree that the case will not end up in court under any circumstances.

As you can probably tell, collaboration is a cheaper alternative to litigation. It’s also more discreet. Family court is a public forum where anyone can find out the details of a divorce. With collaboration, the divorce essentially happens “behind closed doors.” This benefits many couples.

Why You Need a Good Divorce Lawyer in Connecticut

Regardless of the option you choose — traditional litigation, mediation, collaboration, or another method entirely — you need a good divorce lawyer who can help you at every stage of your journey. Many people end up with unfavorable divorce terms because they are unable to communicate what they want. Hiring a reputable Connecticut divorce attorney lets you achieve the best possible outcome for you and any children you have.

Rochlin Law specializes in all types of divorce in Connecticut so you can find the best course of action for your circumstances. This professional divorce law firm in Hartford, CT, understands that not all divorces are the same and guides clients through every stage of the divorce process, including alimonytaxesprenuptial agreements, and more.

Looking for a reliable divorce lawyer in Connecticut who can help you through this difficult time? Rochlin Law specializes in traditional litigation, mediation, collaborative divorce, and more. Call (860) 357-9158 or click here to contact a member of the team.  

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