A Collaboration by: Kim Weibrecht and Briana Coakley
Top 6 Considerations…
Collaborative Divorce and Mediation are both alternative methods of resolving disputes in divorce cases. While they share similarities, such as aiming for amicable settlements outside of court, Collaborative Divorce offers several unique benefits compared to Mediation. Let’s explore these advantages in detail.
Here are the key benefits of Collaborative Divorce as compared to Mediation:
- Team Approach: In Collaborative Divorce, each spouse is represented by their own attorney, who is trained in Collaborative Law, as well as other professionals such as financial experts, child specialists, or therapists. This team approach ensures that all aspects of the divorce, including legal, financial, and emotional considerations, are addressed comprehensively. In Mediation, although a mediator facilitates the negotiation, they are neutral and do not provide financial, emotional, child development, or legal advice or representation.
- Specialized legal representation and advocacy: Attorneys in a Collaborative Divorce advocate for their clients’ interests while still working towards a mutually beneficial resolution. Sometimes new clients tell us that they are afraid that involving lawyers will inevitably make things adversarial. And the truth is that when attending Mediation, not all lawyers come with settlement as their priority. With Collaborative Divorce, the attorneys are free to focus 100% of their attention on settlement. Also, in Mediation, parties may choose not to have legal representation, which limits the support they are able to get since the mediator must remain neutral and cannot provide legal advice or representation.
- Commitment to settlement: In a Collaborative Divorce process, all parties and professionals sign an agreement committing to exhausting settlement without resorting to litigation. If the Collaborative process breaks down and ends up in court, all of the professionals, including both attorneys, must withdraw from the case. This is known as the “Disqualification Clause” of the agreement. It enhances the likelihood of success by providing a strong incentive for the attorneys and the clients to remain committed to settlement, even when conversations get difficult. On the other hand, in Mediation, attorneys are often participating in Mediation while simultaneously preparing for litigation.
- Open and Transparent Communication: Collaborative Divorce emphasizes open and transparent communication between the spouses and the professional team. This promotes a constructive atmosphere for negotiations, encourages problem-solving, and helps build trust between the parties. In Mediation, although some face to face communication in session may occur, in Collaborative Divorce, all settlement conferences occur face to face and there is a high level of professional coordination before and after settlement conferences. This coordination enhances efficiency and maximizes productivity. In Mediation, clients without counsel often feel lost and overwhelmed with the process.
- Preservation of Relationships: Collaborative Divorce aims to minimize conflict and promote positive post-divorce relationships, especially when children are involved. The Collaborative approach encourages respectful communication and focuses on finding mutually beneficial solutions. By fostering cooperation and understanding, Collaborative Divorce helps reduce the potential for future conflicts and allows the parties to maintain a more amicable relationship. While Mediation also strives for a settlement, the involvement of attorneys and other professionals in Collaborative Divorce makes it more likely the couple will end with good will and enhanced trust, which in turn helps preserve the relationship.
- Customized Solutions: Collaborative Divorce allows for more flexible and customized solutions compared to Mediation. The team of professionals involved can provide specialized and coordinated expertise in areas such as finances, parenting, and emotional support. This enables the parties to develop solutions tailored to their unique circumstances and priorities. Mediation, while offering some flexibility, does not provide the same level of coordinated support and guidance.
While both Collaborative Divorce and Mediation are effective alternatives to traditional litigation, Collaborative Divorce provides distinct advantages, including a team approach, full legal representation, open communication, relationship preservation, customized solutions, and enhanced privacy. These benefits increase the likelihood that litigation can be avoided and contribute to a more comprehensive and tailored resolution process, facilitating a smoother transition for all parties involved. Ultimately, the choice between Collaborative Divorce and Mediation depends on the specific needs and dynamics of the divorcing couple, and it is advisable to consult with legal professionals to determine the most suitable approach.
To contact Kim Weibrecht or Briana Coakley or for more information please visit: https://collaborativedivorcenh.com/professionals/
Click here To learn more about Collaborative Divorce and how it works.