Can a couple mediate some issues and litigate others?

By Heather Collier and Erik P. Arena
January 10, 2018
Can a couple mediate some issues and litigate others?

There's no requirement that a couple has to mediate all the issues, or litigate all the issues in their particular case. A couple may not have any trouble agreeing on the custody arrangement but the financial issues may be hotly contested or vice versa. Each case is different. You never know what is going to be the hot button issue, it could be the house, the children, or the beanie baby collection.

But oftentimes even in a high conflict case there are at least a few areas where you can reach agreement and resolve an issue or two. The parties can always carve out issues that might be opportune for settlement and take them to mediation, leaving others for litigation. The advantage of mediating at least some of the issues are saving time and money, and the benefit of settlement begetting settlement.

The more issues you can resolve by mediation, the more streamline litigating over the remaining issues becomes, meaning less time spent on the discovery and litigation process, and a potentially shorter trial. When the scope of the litigation is limited, it tends to cost less than if every issue is in dispute. Resolving even one issue is empowering for the party and is likely to generate momentum for settlement discussions on remaining issues leading to the potential for other issues to resolve, if not all of the issues.

Family lawyers Heather Collier and Erik Arena are partners at Dragga, Hannon, and Wills law firm in Rockville Maryland. Heather has been recognized as a “Super Lawyer” in the area of family law for the fourth consecutive year, and selected to the Super Lawyers’ list of Top 50 Women Attorneys in Maryland. Erik has also been named a “Super Lawyer” in family law, and a “Best Lawyer” in Maryland family law by Best Lawyers in America. To learn how Heather, Erik, and the team at Dragga, Hannon, and Wills can help you choose the right dispute-resolution process for your divorce, please visit

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January 10, 2018
Categories:  FAQs

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