Mediation vs. Litigation

Mediation is part of the litigation process. However, most people typically think of mediation as an out-of-court process while litigation generally refers to matters that progress to court.

At Shapiro Family Law, our Denver divorce and family law attorneys have years of experience handling cases through a variety of avenues of resolution.

What Are The Differences Between Mediation And Litigation?

There are some similarities and many differences between mediation and litigation as these processes are used in family law and divorce matters. Below is just the beginning information that can be helpful in understanding mediation and litigation:


  • Mediation can occur before a lawsuit is filed.
  • Each side has his or her own attorney.
  • Cases are handled, for the most part, outside of court.
  • Matters are negotiated through a third-party trained neutral mediator.
  • Both sides are expected to give and take in the process; both may “win” as well as “lose.”
  • The attorneys, the clients and the mediator set their own schedule to reach a resolution, often moving the process forward more efficiently.
  • Since mediations often resolve more quickly than court cases, this can result in a more cost-effective solution for the clients.
  • Typically, mediations are handled in a more amicable manner, which can place less stress on the parties and any children who are involved.
  • Mediation is more of a conversation between the two parties.


  • The litigation process does not begin until a lawsuit is filed.
  • Lawyers represent clients on either side.
  • Cases are handled in a courtroom.
  • Matters are decided by a judge.
  • One side will “win” and one will “lose.”
  • Cases are scheduled according to the court calendar, which may drag out the process.
  • Litigation is often more contentious, resulting in more emotions and stress for all involved.
  • There is less back-and-forth in litigation. One side presents its case, as does the other side, and the judge makes a decision.

Let Us Help You Move Forward

For more information about the mediation services we offer, how we can help in litigation and the most appropriate way of resolving your legal matters, call our office at 303-695-0200 or contact us online. We represent clients in the Denver area and throughout Colorado.

Contact Us