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Mediation or collaborative divorce: which is right for you?

There are two methods for keeping your divorce out of the courts, mediation or collaborative divorce. In both cases, you can avoid having a judge make decisions for you. But each option has its pros and cons.

No approach will be perfect, but by asking some questions you may find that one approach better suits you and your situation.

What are some key features of mediation?

Mediation affords you the opportunity to make your own decisions with your partner only. Mediators have no power and cannot make any decisions for you, although they can facilitate negotiation.

In mediation the two parties represent themselves. There are no attorneys or other professionals in the room other than the neutral mediator.

The process is informal and flexible and is less costly than litigation.

What are some key features of collaboration?

In a collaborative divorce, collaborative attorneys represent each spouse. All four people negotiate the terms of divorce, and may also involve additional professionals such as financial planners, therapists, and child psychologists.

All parties sign a “no-court” agreement; if the negotiations fail and the divorce goes to court, neither attorney can have any further involvement.

What factors can help the decision process?

Mediation may be best if you want:

  • More flexibility and control over the process
  • The most cost savings
  • Confidentiality

Collaboration may be right if you:

  • Desire personal legal representation
  • Need support during negotiations

Divorce is a complicated and emotional process. Choosing the right approach to resolving your issues can help the process go as quickly and smoothly as possible.