The Differences Between Mediation and a Collaborative Divorce

To begin, let’s breakdown what is divorce mediation and collaborative divorce?

Mediation is a divorce method that unites both parties using a mediator. The mediator is the neutral third-party that assist the couple in reaching compromises. Attorneys are not required to be present, so if some issues need resolution but you want to avoid litigation and attorneys, and feel you can reach agreements without meltdowns, mediation can make a good option.

If agreements cannot be reached, you will have to seek a collaborative divorce.

Collaborative divorces include you, your partner, a mediator, and separate attorneys who are specialized in collaborative divorce. You, your partner, and your independent attorneys will have to sign a “participation agreement,” stating that cooperation will reign. Combative or manipulative tactics are not allowed during the collaborative process.

Financial, child health, mental health, and other subject matter experts will be brought in during a collaborative divorce to help negotiate agreements. If resolutions cannot be reached, the attorney for both parties will no longer be able to represent their client. The next step would be divorce litigation, and both parties would have to hire a new attorney.

Other differences between mediation and a collaborative divorce

  1. Mediators will not take sides
  2. Mediators guide a couple to decisions; lawyers provide advice to the benefit of their specific client
  3. Mediation is completed in one to four sessions. This speed is determined by how quickly the couple can reach their agreements.
  4. Due to its complexity and the need to coordinate the schedules of each spouse, their attorneys, the mediator, and additional professionals, collaborative divorces often last between eight to 14 months.
  5. Mediated divorces cost couples between $7,000 to $10,000
  6. Collaborative divorces cost couples between $25,000 to $50,000
  7. Divorce litigation (bringing your divorce to trial) can cost from $78,000 to $200,000

Finally, with only three parties that often want to find solutions together, mediation is a more peaceful operation. Collaborative divorce includes attorneys, and the duty of an attorney is to fight for their client. Though unwelcomed, a tense setting and adversity are common in a collaborative setting. 

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