How Do Collaborative Divorce and Mediation Differ?
Spouses ending their marriage by divorce are thrust into a complex legal situation. Some breakups are so contentious it may seem inevitable that the parties’ differences will be decided by a judge. Other options exist, however, and many couples explore such alternatives to litigation as mediation and collaborative divorce. While these two potential solutions might sound similar, each is its own distinct process that you should understand before deciding how to proceed.
If you’re seeking the best way to move to avoid protracted litigation over the breakup of your marriage, here are a few important differences between mediation and collaborative divorce:
- Impartial intermediary — In mediation, a neutral third party who is familiar with relevant family law standards encourages the spouses to reach a consensus. By contrast, when the couple has chosen the collaborative process, they and their attorneys work out a negotiated settlement, bringing in experts such as accountants, therapists and others as needed to advise on key issues. Unlike mediation, there isn’t a neutral person overseeing the discussion or working to bridge any disagreements.
- Scheduling — Each activity of collaborative divorce must be scheduled by agreement of the parties, their attorneys and whatever outsiders are brought in to provide relevant information. Finding appropriate dates and times for everyone can get a bit unwieldy. In mediation, there are fewer moving parts and while each situation is unique, a simple divorce that involves mediation can often be wrapped up in a few months.
- Representation if the process fails — The collaborative divorce contract calls for both attorneys to stop representing their clients if the process does not end in a marital settlement agreement. On the other hand, if mediation fails, the spouses can resolve their issues through litigation while retaining the same lawyers if they so choose.
Once you understand your options and the differences that exist over property division, alimony, custody arrangements and other issues, you should be well equipped to find the dispute-resolution process and professional that best meets your needs.
Solutions Divorce Mediation in Melville uses experienced attorney and non-attorney mediators to resolve conflicts between divorcing Long Island spouses so they can reach an equitable agreement and move forward. Please call 1.631.683.8172 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.