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How is Mediation Different from Collaborative Divorce?

When married couples are facing the challenging prospect of divorce, they often contemplate whether they should choose traditional litigation or look into alternative dispute resolution methods. Some divorce cases can quickly become contentious when disagreements arise, while others strive for an amicable separation. For those who can work together to reach a mutual agreement on the terms that will apply to the termination of the marriage, two popular alternatives to litigation exist collaborative divorce and mediation. Both methods are effective, but they have distinct differences that are important to note when determining which approach is most appropriate for your unique situation. Please continue reading to learn the critical difference between these alternative divorce routes and how an adept Ocean County Divorce Attorney can help you navigate the complexities of this legal process. 

What is a Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative divorce is a process in which each party retains an attorney and agrees to work together in a four-way session to resolve the issues without restoring to litigation. Essentially, this process uses negotiation to settle their divorce. Collaborative divorce requires divorcing parties to be willing participants. They must be willing to negotiate in good faith to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. It’s important to note that this alternative dispute resolution may involve other professionals, such as financial experts or child specialists, to address specific aspects of the divorce.

What is Mediation?

Mediation, on the other hand, is a facilitated negotiation process in which a natural third-party mediator assists divorcing parties in resolving their disputed issues and reaching an agreement on the terms that will apply to the termination of the marriage. During various sessions, the mediator guides discussions on property division, child custody, support payments, and other aspects of the divorce.

What Are the Key Differences?

As mentioned above, in a collaborative divorce, each party retains its attorney to help negotiate and resolve the issues. Unlike collaborative divorce, mediation usually only involves a mediator rather than each party having an attorney present. Couples can choose to have legal representation during mediation. However, it’s not mandatory. Most couples choose to consult their attorneys outside of the mediation sessions.

In addition to legal representation, these approaches have distinct differences in decision-making. In a collaborative divorce, the decision-making is driven by both parties and their attorneys to find a mutually agreeable solution finally. However, mediation places decision-making power in the hands of the divorcing parties. The mediator does not make decisions for the couple. Instead, they guide the discussions. The divorcing couple retains power over the outcome and is actively involved in crafting their agreements.

If a divorce is imminent, you should explore alternative dispute resolution methods, which can save you considerable time and money. At the Law Office of Sarina Gianna, LLC, we are prepared to help you determine which approach is right for you.