Below you will find a side-by-side comparison of the mediation process and the traditional process of divorce litigation.

 
MEDIATIONLITIGATION
The Mediator is independent & does not represent either party.Each party sees the other as the enemy &  his/her lawyer is duty bound to advocate only for his/her client.
The Mediator helps foster an atmosphere of cooperation while working out the details of a mutually-acceptable divorce agreement.Lawyers bring interim motions where each side swears an affidavit throwing as much mud as possible on the other party. Then a judge decides the “winner” (usually in 30 minutes). The judge also dictates the details of interim custody, possession of the house & support. This process usually causes the parties so much pain that it blocks constructive negotiation in the future.
Full disclosure is voluntarily exchanged.Formal discovery or questioning is held. The parties make demands for disclosure or return to court to fight about what disclosure each is entitled to.
Together the Parties usually spend $500-$5,000Each Party usually spends between $1,000-$50,000
Standards of fairness are determined by the parties in situations where the parties might not find the law treats them fairly.Courts and lawyers strictly follow the laws of the province or federal law.
Most cases can be resolved within a reasonable time period and for a reasonable cost provided both parties are committed to the process.90% of cases settle often after a year of fighting and on the eve of trial after each party has already spent huge sums of money.
Statistics show that parties who come to an agreement are far more likely to abide by their mediated settlement.The courts deal everyday with enforcing orders which are not followed or variation applications brought by an unhappy party.
The parties with or without lawyers present arrive at an agreement they consider to be fair.Parties give over the decision-making to their lawyers or to a judge who often have had very little contact with them and very little appreciation of what is best for them.
Parties with children are encouraged to cooperate with respect to ongoing child- related issues which may last a lifetime.Parties are often so embittered by the process & by the fighting with their former spouses that cooperation becomes impossible
Parties to mediation are free to explore any possible solution to their differences without worrying that what they say will be used against them in court.In addition to deciding the winner and loser, the judge decides what evidence is allowed into court and how much weight to give such evidence. Often, in other words, the whole story doesn’t come up.
Mediation is “user-friendly”.Court and language procedures are often difficult for the layperson to understand/follow.