Mediation or Collaborative Divorce: Two Alternatives to Traditional Divorce Proceedings

When most people think of divorce, they tend to think of it in terms of the traditional adversarial divorce.

In an adversarial divorce, each spouse and their respective attorney square off in a courtroom and a judge decides the terms of the divorce.

The judge will then decide all issues of the divorce, from property division to alimony.

A traditional, adversarial divorce – as its name implies – is framed around the assumption that both parties in the divorce are in see each other as adversaries and cannot reach any agreement regarding the divorce without individual legal representation and the direct intervention of a judge.

Because of this, traditional divorce proceedings can be very unpleasant affairs that can causing lasting bitterness between the divorcing couple.

However, for many couples, divorce is a much less adversarial process, and one built around a mutual agreement to end the marriage in as civil a manner as possible.

For these couples, there are two alternative forms of divorce — collaborative and mediation — which may allow them to skip the courtroom and resolve their problems in a civil, mutually beneficial way.

In a collaborative divorce, the two spouses and their attorneys sign an agreement to not take the case to court. They also all agree to work together to reach a mutually beneficial divorce agreement.

The one downside to this divorce is a kind of ‘poison pill’ intended to prompt the parties to reach a settlement as soon as possible. Agreements to enter into the collaboration process normally include a clause that if each spouse does not agree to the final resolution, both parties must start the process over but with new lawyers.

This adds both time and considerable expense to the process.

The second alternative form of divorce is called a mediation.

In mediation, the two spouses and a neutral third party meet and jointly work out a divorce settlement for the couple.

The mediator will use input from both parties to work out a fair agreement for the couple.

Neither side in a mediation is required to be represented by an attorney, but the use of an attorney is highly encouraged.

Mediation is also a highly private affair, since no is required to be involved except the couple and the mediator.

The downside to mediation is that it too can fail and the two parties will be forced to start over.

Mediation is a perfect divorce solution for couples who are willing to work together on a divorce settlement and do not need the rancor or drama of an adversarial divorce proceeding.

Contact us today for more guidance on how to create a fair divorce settlement.