How is Mediation Different from Collaborative Divorce?

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Many couples who are going through a divorce disagree on nearly every topic. One thing they may have in common, though, is the knowledge that litigation for their divorce can be costly and time-consuming. There are alternative methods to settle the details of a divorce, such as mediation and collaborative divorce. Some may assume they are the same, but the processes differ in several ways. Contact a Nassau County divorce lawyer for more information on the various divorce methods that are available to you.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution. It can be beneficial for couples going through a separation or divorce. Through mediation, you and your partner will meet with a mediator. Your mediator should be a neutral third party with no personal biases and nothing to gain or lose from the outcome of the negotiation. The mediator will steer the conversation to resolve issues related to the divorce and avoid emotional disputes.

The mediator has no power over the decisions of the divorce. You and your spouse are the only two who can make decisions. The mediator simply helps you navigate the situation as it can be uncomfortable or frustrating to negotiate with your soon-to-be ex.

People opt for mediation because of its informal and flexible nature. It tends to be more time and cost-efficient than litigation.

What is Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative divorce is another way to avoid litigation. Through this process, each spouse will obtain the services of an attorney and discuss the situation with them. They can explain their wants and needs regarding assets or child custody as well as express any concerns they may have.

Neither spouse has to file for divorce. Instead, they sit down with their spouse and respective attorneys to hammer out the details of the separation on their own. It operates similarly to mediation in that the spouses participate in meetings to discuss the details of the divorce and make decisions together regarding property division, child custody, alimony, etc.

What Are the Main Differences Between Mediation and Collaborative Divorce?

It seems as though mediation and collaborative divorce are fairly similar. After all, they both entail each spouse sitting together and negotiating the details of their divorce without input from a judge. However, there are some substantial differences between the two methods.

In mediation, there are three people in the room, the spouses and a mediator. The spouses do the negotiating while the mediator guides the conversation. The spouses are not required to hire a lawyer or adviser. Once the final decisions have been made the mediator will draw up a Memorandum of Understanding that details the agreements made. The memorandum is entered into the marital settlement agreement.

If a couple chooses a collaborative divorce, they will each have to hire an attorney. Instead of a discussion between two people, as with mediation, it becomes a four-way negotiation. Each spouse’s attorney will know the dealbreakers and desires of their client and fight for the best outcome. Another difference is that collaborative divorce also typically involves input from other professionals. Attorneys may recommend that their clients speak with mental health professionals, financial experts, and more. When the matter is resolved the attorneys will file the paperwork for an uncontested divorce.

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