Collaborative Divorce vs Divorce Mediation? Take your pick.
The decision to end a marriage is probably one of the most difficult and the biggest decisions that a person has to make in his life. There’s no doubt that going through a divorce can cause a complete emotional upheaval to everyday life. It’s a long road to travel for yourself and your family. But, other than the decision to file for a divorce, there is one more important decision that has to be made.
How to actually go about getting a divorce?
You must have heard that divorce mediation is a cost-effective and peaceful method. But you also want to learn more about the collaborative divorce method and how these two procedures compare.
Through this article, we’ll help you to understand the two processes, so you can decide which one is right for you.
Divorce mediation involves a neutral third-party (Mediator) who encourages and guides the conflicting parties to peacefully resolve their issues and financial matters in a series of meetings. A mediator helps you reach an agreement that is custom-made for your family, your finances and your future.
A divorce mediator will:
- Work as a neutral facilitator who will help both parties to identify and understand the pertinent subjects that need to be addressed and will help you make informed decisions like complex financial, legal, and logistical issues associated with divorce.
- Act as a peacemaker when any one of the parties comes to a disagreement. A mediator will help to put all your issues on the table and come to the agreeable solution in good faith.
- Keep the communication lines open and bring to the table a few options that help the clients come to a mutual agreement that will stand the test of time. This bespoke agreement takes care of your needs and the needs of your children pertaining to your parenting plan and time-sharing, child support, alimony, division of marital property, debts and other important topics.
- Help you with all of the paperwork involved in this process. Unlike most mediators, at Divorce Harmony we draft your Marital settlement agreement, Parenting Plan (if minor kids are involved) and the remainder of the papers you need to get divorced. No court visit will even be necessary.
Collaborative law is somewhat similar to mediation. Under both procedures, the parties try to avoid a court trial. However, the process of collaborative divorce is quite different from mediation.
In this process, both parties hire their own attorneys who advise and assist them in resolving their divorce-related issues to reach a mutual agreement. But if you choose to work with attorneys, right off the bat you are looking at spending a lot of money for your divorce case. In a “traditional” divorce situation, a lawyer’s job is to try to get the most favorable outcome for one client. Similarly, a divorce attorney can also represent only one person.
In a collaborative divorce, you meet your attorneys separately and then four of you meet together in the ‘four-way’ meetings. The process usually involves other professionals as well, such as child custody specialists or financial advisors who try to assist with the settlement without litigation, but who no doubt make the collaborative process that much more expensive. Both the parties and their divorce attorneys sign a contract called “no court” agreement that states that the attorney will withdraw from the case if a settlement is not reached and the case will move to the court.
The major downside of a collaborative divorce is that if you or your spouse are unable to reach a mutual agreement or if the negotiations fall flat, then you have to start everything from scratch with new divorce attorneys. This can turn out to be very expensive since you have already invested your time and money in the collaborative process.
Differences between Divorce Mediation and Collaborative Divorce
Mediation takes about two to four sessions (1-2 weeks) to complete the procedure. The pace of the case is usually directed by the parties themselves. At Divorce Harmony, once the issues are resolved between the parties, we file the paperwork and the parties receive final notice of the divorce in the mail without any hassle of a court trial.
- Collaborative divorce can usually take up to 6-14 months to get complete. It takes about 5-6 sessions to resolve the disputes between the parties. The time taken for completion also depends on the availability of both the parties, their attorneys and the experts that are present during the sessions. Other factors are related to filing a case and getting a date by the court.
- Mediation is potentially a more cost-effective and efficient method of getting a divorce than collaboration. The participation of two attorneys and possibly other professionals makes the cost of a collaborative divorce higher than mediation where the two parties meet alone with the mediator, even if they are consulting other experts time and again.
The number of people involved
- The couple works with one mediator in divorce mediation.
- Whereas, in the collaborative divorce, there are two attorneys with other professionals like finance experts, child custody specialists, etc.
- In divorce mediations, clients are empowered to make their own decisions.
- In a collaborative divorce, the attorneys give advice and usually tell their clients what to do.
- Mediators are neutral third parties, they don’t make decisions for you and they don’t take sides. During the process, they serve as a facilitator and work hand-in-hand with the couple to help them reach a mutual solution that is fair to them and is in their children’s best interest.
- Whereas, a collaborative lawyer can only represent one party and their job is to advocate for their clients. Hence, in collaborative divorce, each spouse has their own representative to “fight” their case. Even if it is not in the interest of the other spouse or the couple’s children.
- Mediation is cooperative and peaceful. There are only 3 participants working on negotiating terms with one another. The two spouses and the mediator.
- Collaborative divorce is comparatively an adversarial process. Each spouse has their own representative, so the mentality fostered is very “us versus them”.
Collaborative Divorce vs Mediation? It’s time to decide!
The final say on how to proceed with the divorce will always be yours. The question of whether to go for divorce mediation or collaboration will depend on your circumstances.
But, if you want a more peaceful, fair, hassle-free way that is better for you, your spouse and your children. Divorce mediation is not only a better choice, but it’s also an economical choice.
At Divorce Harmony, we make your divorce settlements stress free, starting with a free 20-minute consultation to filing all your legal court documents.
Get your divorce agreement finalized from the comfort of your own home with our online divorce mediation process. Book a free appointment online and get started today.