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Collaborative Divorce Vs. Mediation: What’s The Difference?

As more people learn about the benefits of collaborative divorce, one of the most common questions that comes up is “How is collaborative divorce different from divorce mediation?”

What is Divorce Mediation?

Divorce mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process (ADR) where a neutral third-party (Mediator) helps the spouses in reaching a resolution of all disputed issues of the divorce. The mediator is a neutral party and does not give any advice to the spouses and has no power to decide the case.

In fact, there is no requirement that the mediator be a lawyer. The role of the divorce mediator is to assist the parties negotiate effectively, help identify areas of dispute, and act as a peacemaker amidst negotiations. The mediator helps to keep lines of communication open and assists in fostering the decision-making process by keeping the spouses focused on the issues.

Mediation is voluntary, confidential, and flexible. It puts the parties in control of both process and the outcome. According to Mediate.com , the average cost of a divorce mediation case is $3000 with settlement within 90 days. This is less than a third of the average cost of a litigated divorce.

Upon reaching an agreement of the issues, the mediator will prepare a Memorandum of Understanding. This will ultimately become part of the divorce agreement. Typically, the spouses will take this Memorandum of Understanding to their respective attorneys for review and preparation of the divorce agreement.

What Are The Benefits of Divorce Mediation?

Mediation can be used to resolve a variety of divorce-related issues, including child custody, child support, property division, and spousal support.

There are many benefits of divorce mediation, including:

1. It is confidential. All communications that take place during mediation are confidential and cannot be used as evidence in court. This allows the parties to speak freely and openly about their concerns without fear of damaging their case.

2. It is less expensive. divorce mediation is typically less expensive than divorce litigation.

3. It is faster. divorce mediation can be completed in a shorter timeframe than divorce litigation.

4. It is less stressful. divorce mediation is often less stressful than divorce litigation, as it allows the parties to control the outcome of their divorce.

5. It is more likely to result in a lasting agreement. Divorce mediation typically results in an agreement that is more likely to be adhered to long-term, as it is based on the needs and interests of both parties.

What is Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative divorce is a client-centered, interest-based negotiation model for resolving divorce disputes. The backbone of this process is the Participation Agreement. This is a written agreement by which both parties and their attorneys make a commitment to working together in good faith toward a mutually beneficial resolution of the issues. Both parties agree that they will not ask the court to decide a disputed issue while in the collaborative divorce process. In addition, both parties agree to voluntarily disclose all financial and relevant information and to always act in good faith in accordance with the agreement.

If at any time anyone pursues court involvement, both attorneys must withdraw from the case. This ensures that everyone “has skin in the game.” This also allows the parties to move forward in a cooperative environment without fear of posturing. If an agreement cannot be reached successfully and the collaborative process is ultimately terminated, the spouses will need to retain different attorneys if they want to proceed in court.

Divorce Attorney Kerry Burleigh Discusses Collaborative Divorce on Carolina Today

How Collaborative Divorce Works

In collaborative divorce, each party hires their own attorney and all parties work together in a cooperative, and non-adversarial environment. It is important that the attorneys be trained in the collaborative process. The collaborative attorneys also sign the participation agreement. In the collaborative process, the spouses and their attorneys conduct negotiations during a series of private meetings. Neutral collaborative professionals are also available as needed to facilitate reaching an agreement on the issues. These neutral collaborative professionals may include financial professionals, a child specialist, mental health professionals, and advisors. Because the collaborative professionals are neutral parties, the spouses can be confident that they are truly working to find creative and shared solutions in the interest of all parties involved.

What Are The Benefits of Collaborative Divorce?

1. Collaborative divorce is less expensive than traditional litigation. Because both parties are working together to reach a mutually agreed upon settlement, there is no need to go to court and pay for costly litigation fees.

2. Collaborative divorce is less time-consuming than traditional litigation. In many cases, collaborative divorces can be resolved in a few months.

3. Collaborative divorce is less stressful than traditional litigation. Because both parties are working together to reach a settlement, there is no need to go to court and face the stress of a trial.

4. Collaborative divorce allows you to have more control over the outcome of your case. In traditional litigation, the judge makes the final decision about your case. In a collaborative divorce, the parties have complete control and ownership over the outcome.

5. Collaborative divorce is private. Unlike traditional litigation, which is public record, a collaborative divorce is confidential. This means that the details of your case will not be made public.

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