Like many American couples, you may want to make sure your divorce goes as smoothly as possible. While litigation was once the norm, more and more couples are finding that negotiating outside of court can bring many benefits.
Both mediated and collaborative divorce offer a lower-conflict and potentially much less expensive approach. However, while both mediation and collaboration emphasize cooperation and negotiation, the processes have some distinct differences.
How divorce mediation works
Divorce mediation usually involves a series of confidential discussion sessions. You, your spouse and a neutral family law mediator meet to discuss issues ranging from dividing your assets to determining custody, support and visitation arrangements. During sessions, your mediator will help you and your future ex to navigate points of conflict and suggest solutions that work for you both.
How collaborative divorce is different
You may want to pursue a low-conflict divorce yet not feel quite comfortable dealing directly with your spouse.
Under collaboration, you and your future ex may hire your own separate attorneys. However, as with mediation, both sides agree not to pursue litigation. You also agree not to pursue other motions with the court while you are negotiating. Additionally, you may work with other professionals, including financial advisors, asset appraisers or family therapists, who can help your family make a truly workable plan for moving forward.
You and your spouse maintain control of any final agreements during both mediation and collaboration. Your mediator and/or attorneys will help you draft a legally-binding settlement, allowing you to maintain control of crucial decisions for both yourselves and your children.