4 Key Differences Between Collaborative Divorce and Mediated Divorce

Collaborative law and mediation are both forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that are commonly utilized for divorce situations. The purpose of both of these techniques is for the involved parties to voluntarily enter into discussions with the purpose of reaching a settlement that avoids litigation.

However, there are several key differences between collaborative divorce and mediated divorce that could impact your decision to choose one form of ADR over the other.. We’ve listed the four biggest differences below:

1) Mediator

One of the most obvious differences between collaborative and mediated divorce is that mediation utilizes the presence of a neutral, third-party mediator to facilitate discussion between the couple and help ensure that both parties are heard and that each person understands the needs and goals of the other. The mediator does not make decisions or give advice, but guides the opposing parties through the process of discussing issues and settlement terms, and works to ensure that each person involved has an equal say. Collaborative divorce does not utilize a third-party to guide the proceedings.

2) Presence of lawyers

Generally, lawyers for either party will not physically accompany their clients to mediation proceedings. Conversely, in a collaborative divorce each party is represented by a lawyer who is specially trained in collaborative law throughout the entire process. However, these lawyers do not approach the process from the perspective of working to achieve only their clients’ goals, rather, they work as a team to fulfill the needs of both parties and reach a mutually beneficial settlement.

3) Threat of litigation

While both mediation and collaborative divorce are meant to avoid litigation, only collaborative divorce is guaranteed to avoid a court battle. Before entering into the collaborative process, each party signs an agreement not to litigate, which removes the ability to use the threat of court as leverage to achieve one’s goals. In mediation, if the couple cannot settle, they may still pursue the path of litigation in order to achieve their goals.

4) Third-party specialists

Generally, mediated divorce proceedings only involve the third-party mediator and the couple, whereas collaborative divorce replaces the mediator with collaborative lawyers and may include third-party specialists who are brought into the discussions to provide the couple with expert opinions and guidance on things like finances and child custody. The lawyers and the specialists all work as a collaborative team to help the couple reach a settlement that will be the most beneficial to everyone, especially when there are children involved in the case.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both collaborative divorce and mediated divorce depending on your specific situation and your personal goals for your dissolution. If you are considering getting a divorce, please give us a call to learn more about the collaborative process and to figure out which method of divorce will be right for you.

Written by Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative Divorce

Our passion is helping individuals like you resolve your divorce and family law challenges with as little stress as possible. We understand that this is a difficult time in your life and we strive to give you predictability and peace of mind throughout all legal proceedings. One of the key ways in which we deliver that experience is by customizing our approach to fit your exact needs.