How is Mediation Different from Collaborative Divorce?


If a divorce is imminent, examining all available legal avenues is vital. Many couples prefer to avoid a protracted and expensive legal battle that may further jeopardize their financial security. Fortunately, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods such as mediation and collaborative divorce can help couples stay out of court and work through their divorce amicably. While these approaches to divorce have similarities, there are several important distinctions between the two. It’s crucial to understand that every case is unique, and, as such, divorcing parties must carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of each option before making a decision. Please continue reading to learn the differences between these ADR methods and how our trusted Bristol County Divorce Options Lawyers can help you determine the best choice, given your unique circumstances. 

How Does Mediation Work?

Divorce mediation is an ADR process in which spouses meet with a neutral third-party mediator. During numerous sessions, the mediator will help divorcing parties resolve their disputed issues and work towards an agreement in writing that stipulates the terms that will apply to the termination of the marriage.

How Does a Collaborative Divorce Work?

Collaborative divorce, on the other hand, entails both parties meeting with their respective attorneys in a series of four-way session focused on resolving their marital issues without involving the court. Like mediation, collaborative divorce involves negotiation sessions in which couples work towards a settlement on all issues related to their situation, including property division, child support, child custody, and other relevant matters.

What Are the Differences?

As you can see, there are various similarities between these ADR methods. They are each centered around divorcing parties reaching an amciable solution together with attorneys or a mediator. However, there are key differences between both processes. Mediation provides complete neutrality in resolving disputes because spouses are not required to have attorneys represent them during sessions. In a collaborative divorce, spouses are required to hire their own attorneys. The attorneys will work for the interests of the party they represent, while the mediator works towards a fair agreement for both parties. Additionally, experts are often brought in for collaborative divorces such asfinancal experts and experts in child care.

What Are the Benefits?

The traditional divorce process can be costly and time-consuming. Litigation requires both parties to relinquish control of their futures to the judge, who may reach a decision that places both parties feeling slighted. Mediation and collaborative divorce both offer parties the opportunity to control the outcome of their divorce and work together to mitigate future conflict. However, for these ADR processes to work, both parties must be willing to compromise and cooperate to reach a fair divorce agreement.

If you’re considering an ADR method, such as mediation or collaborative divorce, please don’t hesitate to contact a determined lawyer from The Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley, P.C., who can help you determine which process is right for you.