There are two options available to you when deciding to separate from a spouse or de facto spouse. Each approach has its own disadvantages and benefits, but there is only one right choice for you. Only you can determine which option is best for you, and a legal expert will lay all of your cards on the table and help you understand which avenue is more appropriate given the circumstances of your situation. 

Terms Defined 


Meditation requires a trained mediator to hold a space for both parties to voluntarily and confidentially communicate in a bid for them to resolve their divorce property settlement disputes. A mediator will not make any decisions on the property pool or impose a property settlement after separation. They are simply an intermediary that will help calm the conversation so that the involved parties can achieve a fair settlement for both parties. It can be a quicker process, and also less stressful if everyone involved is committed to the process. 


Litigation requires both parties to take their case to the Family Court. A judge will hear the case and settle the Property Settlement Process based on the evidence each party presents. It is a more formal process, and achieving a family law property settlement through litigation is often more adversarial in nature. Despite this, it’s a choice that many people are forced to make because they cannot reach an agreement within the property settlement time limit. There may also be issues in meditation if one party doesn’t take the process seriously or attempts to play hardball. 

When you decide which route to take, you have to consider the specifics of your case. When you speak to a family law expert, they can go over the details of your case, discuss your goals, and your situation to help you make the right decision moving forward. 

The Benefits of Mediation 

If you are trying to decide between mediation and litigation, there are several reasons why mediation may be more appropriate for your situation. 

  • Privacy

The mediation process is more private than going through litigation. All of the meetings are confidential and only the parties involved have control over who is present. 

  • Time

Typically, mediation is a quicker process than litigation because litigation involves the discovery procedure and a slew of pre-trial procedures. 

  • Relationships

Mediation is a calmer way to resolve family law disputes, which means it helps preserve relationships. This is particularly important for people who share children and will have to continue in a co-parenting situation. Mediation opens the line of communication and tries to separate the emotions from the process so a resolution is less combative and more communicative. 

  • Control

When you take your case to the Court, it puts all of the power and control in the judge’s hands. In mediation, each party has control over the outcome, as long as they are willing to work together to reach an agreement. 

The Benefits of Litigation 

Taking the litigation route means that you have to take your case to the Courts. This system sets up the parties in an adversarial position, they are opponents. 

Before you can take your case through litigation, you have to file supporting documents and state the outcome you are looking for. An Initiating Application/Response is required for financial and parenting matters, and these detail the orders they would like the court to make. Additionally, you may need to file Affidavits to support their case. 

Financial statements must also be filed, whether it’s the property settlement process or child custody. This is a discretionary territory, which means that any outcome is possible. 

  • The court holds the power to compel both parties to provide a full disclosure of finances, which is an important part of the process, especially if you suspect the other party is hiding things. 
  • The court has the power to implement timelines if they believe one party is intentionally delaying proceedings. 
  • The court has the power to subpoena relevant third parties if necessary. 
  • Your evidence is heard in a formal setting by an impartial expert.

AJB Stevens Can Help 

Mediation is an effective route to resolution when both parties are committed. It is voluntary, and it isn’t the appropriate path in every case. In some situations, the parties hold expectations far too different to come together in mediation. It is these types of situations that make litigation necessary. 

The best time to pursue legal advice when you are going through a separation is before you make a decision to formally separate. At AJB Stevens, we specialise in family law and one of our experts can help guide you through the process. We understand how stressful and emotional a time this can be, and we can alleviate some of that stress while ensuring the best possible outcome. Contact us today.