If you and your spouse oppose litigation for your upcoming divorce, what other options do you have?
Two of the most popular alternatives are mediation and collaborative divorce, but what are the differences?
Minimize impact with mediation
Mediation is a private process as opposed to the public scrutiny that attends litigation. It is also a less expensive and time-consuming option that allows a couple more control over their own divorce. Open communication between the parties is at the heart of the process. The mediator, a neutral third party provides guidance as the parties work together to create a divorce agreement that is satisfactory to them both. Mediation lessens the stressful impact of divorce since it takes place in a peaceful environment where cooperation is the order of the day.
Bring in outside help with collaboration
Like mediation, collaborative divorce takes place outside of the courtroom and is faster and less expensive than litigation. However, in this option, each party works initially with his or her own attorney, then the four meet to work out the terms of the divorce agreement they will present for the approval of the court. The group can also bring in outside professionals such as an accountant, a financial advisor or a social worker to assist in the collaborative process. If the couple cannot reach an agreement, their attorneys must withdraw and new attorneys brought in to litigate the divorce.
Consider family relationships
There is less bitterness with mediation and collaborative divorce, and studies show that both options are much easier than litigation on children of the marriage. Given the focus on cooperation and open communication, the participants are able to build an effective framework for family relationships going forward.