Collaborative Divorce & Mediation: How Are They Different?

There’s more than one way to conduct divorce. While most people are familiar with the concept of courtroom litigation and leaving important decisions up to a judge or jury to decide, almost anyone can avoid this scenario. In fact, it may be preferable to do so because litigation is costly and time-consuming, especially compared to alternative means of dispute resolution.

Two alternative ways to conduct a divorce outside of the courtroom are collaborative divorce and divorce mediation. Both of these approaches permit spouses to negotiate the terms of their divorce, which can offer greater flexibility and room for nuance.

Beyond these similarities, however, collaborative divorce and mediation are very different from each other. We’ll discuss each of them below so that you can have a better idea of what you can expect from either process.

Divorce Mediation

Mediation occurs when two parties meet in private with a neutral third-party mediator. The mediator’s role is to facilitate a discussion between the parties on issues related to their divorce, such as alimony, child custody, child support, and property division. The only issue mediation (and collaborative divorce, for that matter) can’t address is domestic violence.

Divorce mediation has been around for a long time and is used by many people. Because of this, you might say that it’s a “time-tested” alternative to litigation. Although it may not be “cheap,” mediation tends to be the least expensive way for couples to divorce.

Collaborative Divorce

A collaborative divorce is conducted when each party, represented by their own attorney, meets in private to discuss the terms of the divorce. Unlike mediation, there is no neutral third-party mediator to facilitate the discussion, but each party may feel more comfortable having legal counsel advocate for their interests during this process.

Collaborative divorce occurs throughout several meetings. At the beginning, each party pledges to attempt to resolve important issues without litigation. If it turns out litigation is unavoidable, both attorneys withdraw from the case and new counsel is needed.

Which Way to Divorce Is Right for Me?

There’s no one way to divorce, which can make it hard to find the “right” way for you. This matter can become more complicated with the way you’d prefer to conduct your divorce differs from your spouse’s wishes.

If you must resolve this question before resolving your divorce, our attorney at Kay Polk, Attorney at Law can help. Because our firm can handle divorces via mediation, collaboration, or litigation, we have the experience necessary to help you understand your options and conduct your divorce.

We understand this isn’t easy, but our goal is to help our clients feel more confident about this process and what the outcome can mean for them. Get started today by requesting a consultation with our experienced divorce lawyer.

Contact us online now to learn more.