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Which Process Is Best For You: Collaborative Divorce Or Mediation?

By Expert Author: Munish D. Rathee

Both Collaborative Divorce and Mediation are easy to put up with mind and pocket. Which one to go with entirely depends on personal perspective. The key difference is the contribution of attorneys. In mediation, the participants meet exclusively with the mediator, who is a nonaligned third party whose work is to assist efficient communication amid the participants in the direction of the objective of reaching a mutually acceptable agreement. In common, lawyers are not in attendance during mediation sessions. Besides, a mediator doesn’t compose any decisions for the participants, they simply direct the dialogue en route for a point where hopefully the participants can accomplish an agreement on their own.

On the other hand in the collaborative process, both participant has an attorney at hand for joint meetings to suggest legal guidance and operate as their client’s advocate. There are cases where mediation may be included in the overall collaborative divorce process, particularly in cases where the participants are at a disagreement on one or more personal issues.

Collaborative divorce needs a better explanation, so it goes like each spouse first retains a collaborative divorce lawyer and they meet privately with that lawyer to discuss the entire process. Then they set up a joint 4-way meeting with the spouses and their lawyers. During this meeting, it is agreed upon in writing by the lawyers that they will not take the case to court. They also set up several future meetings they believe will be necessary to bring the case to a successful conclusion. During these meetings, information is exchanged and all possible avenues are explored toward reaching a satisfactory agreement for all parties involved. Each meeting has a pre-set agenda and someone is required to maintain minutes. The process ultimately results in a divorce or separation agreement, which ends up becoming a court order once everything is filed.

Usual court-based litigation often involves an initial meeting in the courtroom where the parties and their attorneys sit at opposing sides of the table and discuss issues like child support and/or custody. This type of environment is very adversarial and tends to put people on guard and bring out their angry side. The atmosphere of a collaborative divorce is totally different. For instance, instead of battling in court over issues like child custody, you are working together with your spouse and a child psychologist or specialist to come up with a plan to co-parent the kids in a way that will be in their best interests. This type of environment fosters cooperation, not just during the collaborative process, but into the future after the divorce is finalized.

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