How are mediation and collaborative divorce different?
Divorce litigation is an adversarial process that can damage you, your spouse and those around you, including your children. Alternative dispute resolution methods are available to help you effect an amicable split if you would like to avoid litigation.
Mediation and collaborative divorce are two methods of alternative dispute resolution available to you and your spouse. Though the end goals of each are similar, there are important differences between the two.
In a mediation, there is an objective third party, called a mediator, who oversees the process. The mediator does not make judgments; his or her function is to facilitate communication between you and your spouse so that you can come to your own agreement.
According to SF Gate, mediation may include joint meetings involving both you and your spouse and one-on-one meetings between each of you and the mediator. An observer is also present to assist during mediation. Both you and your spouse can have legal representation present, but this is not a requirement.
Collaborative divorce requires that both you and your spouse retain a qualified legal representative. There is no mediator or other third party overseeing a collaborative divorce, although you may hire experts in related fields, such as child psychologists or financial professionals, to help guide the process.
According to the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, everyone involved in a collaborative divorce must commit to the process. You demonstrate this commitment by signing an agreement stating that if the process fails and you and your spouse seek to pursue the matter in court, you will seek other legal representation.