As a law firm that provides both mediation and collaborative divorce, we are frequently asked what the differences are. The two methods are similar in many aspects, as both aims to resolve divorce issues without litigation.
We have outlined some of the differences between mediation and collaborative divorce below. Of course, we are happy to help you better understand how each may apply to your unique situation when you partner with us.
Difference #1: Committing To The Process
To participate in collaborative divorce, each party must sign an agreement to approach the process cooperatively and openly express their concerns.
Mediation works best when the participants make a real commitment to the process but, unlike collaborative divorce, mediation does not require full legal commitment and either party can easily pursue divorce litigation if they are unhappy with the direction that mediation is going.
Difference #2: Attorneys And Their Role
In collaborative divorce, each spouse has a lawyer who is present to help his or her client through the process. The role of the lawyers is to help the parties through the collaborative process and understand concerns on both sides.
In mediation, lawyers may or may not be present while the parties try to sort out their differences with a mediator. The parties may still have attorneys, but they would not necessarily be inside the mediation room.
Difference #3: Outside Specialists
Collaborative divorce typically involves more outside help than just attorneys, as counselors/therapists and financial experts are often part of the process. This can be especially helpful to balance situations where one spouse is skilled at managing money and assumed that role during the marriage.
Mediation typically involves only the parties and the mediator, although there may be the option to bring in outside professionals.
Look for part two of this series next week!