Mediation v. Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative divorce and mediation may seem like two sides of the same coin; however, place the wrong bet and you could reveal a lengthy litigation process, rather than the respectful resolution you initially sought. Want to weigh your options?

Collaborative Attorneys vs. Mediators

To understand how two parties can work together, it’s important to define the role of representation in low-conflict divorce in terms of mediators versus collaborative divorce attorneys.

    • Mediators

These law professionals generally have extensive experience with non-traditional divorce. Furthermore, they’re comfortable representing two parties together, without bias. The mediator guides the couple through the divorce, mapping out points for resolution along the way.

In the end, the mediator must work with the couple to overcome obstacles and, eventually, arrange a settlement outside of court.

    • Collaborative Attorneys

These separately retained attorneys should also have extensive experience with non-traditional divorce. Each of the two lawyers must work together in a manner that encourages the best resolution for both parties while remaining partial to his or her own client. The objective is also to settle on an agreement outside of court.

Working Separately, Together: Understanding the Difference

Unlike litigation, both collaborative divorce and mediation aim to avoid a lengthy trial through open communication and mutual respect. However, mediation and collaborative divorce differ in their approach to resolve. In the case of mediation, one representative is generally assigned to both parties. It is this professional’s job to coach both “teams” toward an agreement.

Conversely, collaborative divorcees retain separate attorneys and meet in the middle – each party has equal, but separate representation. This process is ideal since an independently retained lawyer is likely to spend more time learning the individual needs of his or her client as opposed to a mediator who must piece together both sides of the story and represent them without bias.

Consider the “team” analogy again. Do you know any opposing sports teams that share the same coach? Similar to an athletic match, each side in a separation requires expert attention to ensure each goal is in the best interest of the team.

Which Option is Right for You?

Every couple is different – and so too is every divorce. While divorce mediation may not be right for you and your spouse, collaborative divorce could present a practical, alternative route to resolution. The goal of a divorce is parting. Retaining separate council and working together are part of the essential steps to a healthy transition.

When considering collaborative divorce versus mediation, remember adequate representation is key to staying in control of the conversation so that, ultimately, you can reach an agreement that’s right for you.

Still not sure on which divorce route is right for you? A divorce attorney can offer meaningful insight regarding the best process for your unique situation.

Contact Dean G. Tsourakis today to find out more on the benefits of collaborative divorce or to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

Divorce HQ/Collaborative Divorce

Divorce HQ/Collaborative Mediation

Collaborative vs. Litigation

Collaborative Talking Points

Collaborative Divorce Attorney