Divorce Mediation vs. Collaborative Divorce
Wednesday, March, 12, 2014
Many clients approach their attorneys with a degree of confusion about the similiarities and differences between divorce mediation and collaborative divorce. To people inexperienced with divorce laws, they can seem fairly similar, and the goals of both processes are pretty much the same. While they are both less formal processes than litigation, these processes are considerably different to each other in ways other than the goal.
How Mediation Services and Collaboration Work
Both mediation and collaboration have the same goal: To reach a mutually agreeable conclusion in the fastest, least expensive and most private way possible. In both cases, attorneys may be present, and they are, in fact, mandatory in collaborative divorces.
The first notable difference between mediation and collaboration is in how the rules are maintained. In the case of mediation, a third-party mediator (usually a retired judge or attorney) keeps the process in order and on track. In divorce collaboration, a document called the “participation agreement” outlines the rules of conduct in the proceedings, the violation of which shuts down the collaborative process and the divorce moves to litigation.
Differences When Civil Mediation and Collaboration Become Litigation
Another major difference between these two processes arises when these informal methods fail and litigation is pursued. In the case of collaboration, if it fails, it is a complete waste of time and money. Neither side can even bring their lawyers to trial court.
When divorce mediation breaks down, however, both parties can keep their attorneys as they proceed into litigation. This saves both parties a significant amount of time and money, as they do not have to hire new attorneys, have them go over the documents that the previous attorneys used, and so on. Additionally, divorce litigation will often call for mediation over specific points, such as child custody and dividing the estate to save the courts time and money.