Mediation and collaborative law are different divorce processes

This family law blog has included posts about the benefits divorce mediation could have for couples dissolving their marriage. However, another form of cooperative negotiation can also bring about a supportive end to a marriage. Collaborative law, and its applicability to collaborative divorce, is an alternative method of litigation to reaching the legal end of a marriage.

Both mediation and collaborative law hold as hallmarks the compliant nature of negotiations between the parties. They attempt to take the adversarial nature of divorce out of the equation by letting couples talk out issues to establish their custody, support and property division decisions. Though they share many commonalities, there are differences between the mediation and collaborative law divorce processes.

For example, in mediation the parties do not always choose to have their own legal representatives. While a mediator may be an attorney, that individual does not advocate for either one of the partners to the divorcing couple. In a collaborative divorce, the parties usually do have their own lawyers.

Additionally, mediation focuses on getting couples to the ends of their marriages and may not require the full exchange of information between the parties that is achieved through discovery in a litigated divorce. Collaborative divorce has a more formal information gathering process, and with their attorneys, divorcing couples can ask each other for more data in that legal environment than in a mediated setting.

There are other factors that make the mediated divorce and collaborative law divorce routes different, but at their cores, they are both committed to keeping the divorce process respectful and concerted. Couples who are planning to divorce and are interested in possibly pursuing collaborative or mediated methods may decide to research further the commonalities and differences that exist between the two processes.

When should divorcing couples choose mediation?

Divorce mediation is a process through which a Massachusetts couple may end their marriage without resorting to litigation in court. A mediated divorce typically takes less time to complete than courtroom litigation because in most cases the parties to the mediation are willing to work together to end the marriage. However, when couples cannot work together to reach their common goal of divorce they can opt for a traditional litigated divorce.

If one spouse desires mediation and the other prefers to go to court, the parties may want to have a look at the pros and cons of mediation and the traditional courtroom route.

First, Mediated divorce may be faster and less expensive than litigated divorce. Second, mediation can help keep a lid on the kind of anger and resentment that so often goes along with a divorce in the adversarial courtroom setting. A more peaceful end to the marriage can be especially important for divorcing couples who have young children.

However, there are advantages to the courtroom setting, as well. For one, a court can compel testimony from a party who doesn’t wish to speak. Additionally, although a judge typically approves the agreement after a mediated divorce, a litigated divorce ends with a judge formally determining the outcome. based on the merits of the case.

Mediation requires a commitment from each party to work toward a fair settlement. In a highly acrimonious divorce, in which the parties can’t agree to even a place and time to negotiate, mediation is probably not going to work. In these cases, a judge may have to make decisions for the parties.

If the divorcing spouses can at least agree that they’d like to save time and money, they should at least investigate the possibility of mediation or other alternative dispute resolution methods. Attorneys skilled in mediation and collaborative law can help Massachusetts residents to understand their options.

The role of mediation in a collaborative divorce

In music, an artistic collaboration may bring together artists of different styles, genres or even generations. In literature, a collaborative work may put on display the writing talents of authors across different literary realms. Collaboration, therefore, has to do with bringing together elements that may not be completely alike or in synch.

Similarly, Massachusetts residents can now seek to end their marriages in a collaborative way. It can make sense for the right couple: when a couple decides that it is time to separate it is highly likely that the partners to the failing relationship are starting to experience differences between them. In a collaborative divorce, those differences are acknowledged and solutions to conflict are actively sought out.

The collaborative approach to ending a marriage is not for everyone. Generally, couples who have few disputes do better in the process than couples who battle over every small decision that must be made. In essence, a collaborative divorce allows otherwise agreeable partners to work through the ends of their marriages without the court’s interference.

From time to time, however, a collaborative divorce hits a point of contention through which it simply cannot proceed. Rather than going to court to settle the dispute, the divorcing parties and their legal representatives can utilize the services of a mediator. Previous posts on this blog have discussed the role of mediation in divorce; though a mediator does not advocate for one party or resolution, he or she can talk parties through their options for finding peace on a point of contention.

Collaborative law extends to the family law world through collaborative divorce. The process allows couples to talk through issues and find harmony to their conflicts outside of a courtroom. While accord is generally found in a collaborative divorce, couples can settle their differences in the process through the utilization of mediation.

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