When explaining collaborative divorce, I am often asked if collaborative divorce is the same as mediation. The answer is simple: No. A collaborative divorce is not mediation.
Mediation is part of a larger process. In litigation cases, the parties are required to attend mediation before trial. The parties don’t have a choice in the litigation process. They must go to mediation if ordered by the Judge. In some collaborative divorce cases, the parties may agree to attend mediation. Attending mediation in a collaborative divorce may be useful if the parties are deadlocked. In both the litigation process and collaborative process, mediation is a small part of those processes.
The collaborative divorce is a structured, formal process. Unlike mediation where the parties meet once, in a collaborative divorce there are a series of structured meetings. Meetings are organized and an agenda is followed. Usually there are roughly 4-5 meetings conducted over a few months.
The mediator is in control during the mediation, but in the collaborative process the parties are in control. In a collaborative divorce, the parties’ control what issues are discussed, and they control other aspects of the process. The parties decide when they are ready to settle and when the process terminates. In the mediation process, the mediator controls the process and controls how much time he or she spends with each side and the mediator can terminate the process.
A team of professionals is assembled in a collaborative divorce. In a collaborative divorce, a team is assembled. The team includes attorneys and a neutral financial professional and a neutral mental health professional. These professionals work together as a team to facilitate a resolution of the divorce.
There are many differences between a collaborative divorce and mediation. Visit our website to learn more about a collaborative divorce.