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How is Collaborative Divorce Different from Mediation?

If you are considering filing for divorce, consider completing the divorce process through alternative dispute resolution (ADR).  There are multiple types of ADR, each of which has unique requirements for the parties involved in the dispute.  What unites them is their common purpose: to allow individuals to avoid the stress and high cost of resolving their legal issues in the courtroom.

Generally, two types of ADR are available to divorcing couples: mediation and collaborative divorce. When a couple divorces through mediation, they work with a neutral third party, known as a mediator, to work through each element of their divorce to determine a fair settlement.  In this setting, the mediator guides the discussion to help the couple reach satisfying conclusions.   With collaborative divorce, there is no mediator.  Instead, the couple, their respective lawyers, a financial professional and neutral health professional work collaboratively to reach a fair settlement, with the couple driving the conversation.  With both types of ADR, it is recommended that each partner retain his or her own lawyer.

ADR works best if you and your spouse are able to trust each other and communicate openly to reach a fair divorce settlement.  If there are issues present in your marriage such as manipulation, lying, a history of domestic violence or simply an inability for you and your partner to be amicable with each other and work together, ADR requires additional safeguards but may still succeed.

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