Litigating a divorce can be costly, financially and emotionally, which is why divorcing couples who may be able to work with each other during the divorce process should consider the different options available to them instead of the traditionally-litigated divorce. Divorcing couples seeking an alternative to divorce litigation should be familiar with alternate dispute resolution options including mediation and collaborative divorce.

Both mediation and collaborative divorce can help divorcing couples resolve their divorce-related issues including property division, child support, child custody and spousal support. As an alternative to divorce litigation, both may do so at less cost to the divorcing spouses in terms of time, acrimony and monetary costs.

What is divorce mediation?

Divorce mediation involves a neutral third-party mediator that can help guide the divorcing couple through resolution of their divorce-related concerns. The third-party mediator will usually meet with each of the spouses, and their representatives, separately and work back and forth between the spouses until they can reach a mediated settlement of their divorce. The mediator can help the spouses prioritize their interests and understand how the law is likely to view their concerns so the divorcing couple can reach a reasonable settlement agreement.

What is collaborative law divorce?

Collaborative law divorce involves and agreement between the parties to keep their divorce out of divorce court and to reach agreements concerning divorce-related issues outside of court and by working together. The divorcing couple signs an official collaborative law agreement that includes a provision that if they decide to litigate their divorce, both of the representatives will withdraw. Similarly to divorce mediation, collaborative law divorce works best when the couple fairly and freely exchanges information and can work together to resolve the divorce-related issues facing them.

Both divorce mediation and collaborative law work best for divorcing spouses who can still work together. Both provide an alternative that can help resolve divorce-related concerns with less acrimony and also provide a foundation for a future framework the couple can utilize for any disputes that come up down the road.