With divorce standing right on your doorstep, you may be wondering if there is another way. Often, when two divorcing spouses wish to seek quick, cooperative marriage dissolution, they may choose to pursue alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation and collaboration. Avoiding litigation can make the entire process less stressful and less overwhelming for everyone involved. It can also be the most cost-effective option as well, as mediation is typically less expensive and less time-consuming than litigation. Should you consider divorce mediation, or is collaborative divorce a better approach? What do they each mean?
Defining Divorce Mediation and Collaborative Divorce
Divorce mediation is an alternative to the classic divorce in which you and your husband/wife hire a third-party divorce mediator that will be neutral to your case. The mediator will assist both of you in reaching an agreement for settlement – and ultimately, a divorce judgment. You will discuss your current situation, and throughout the sessions, the mediator will take notes and guide you.
On the other hand, a collaborative divorce does not have a mediator. Instead, each spouse will hire a collaborative divorce attorney that will represent them in the divorce. It may sound like a standard divorce, but there is one key difference: both parties will have to sign an agreement in which they agree that no litigation will begin while the Settlement Agreement is still negotiated.
Stating the Differences
- Both collaborative divorce and mediation allow couples to avoid the cost, stress and time that happen in litigation.
- Both allow the couple to make their own decisions about their future, while litigation leaves the decisions up to a judge.
- Both collaborative divorce and mediation let the couple protect their privacy, while traditional divorce litigation is public record.
- Mediation can begin after a divorce case has already started
- Both methods have neutral and independent professional advisors handling the divorce in the form of the attorney or the representative.
- Divorce mediation does not require a lawyer, although we encourage legal representation to make sure your rights are protected; while in a collaborative divorce legal representation is a necessity.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Both
Depending on how amicable the couple is, divorce mediation may be settled very quickly, or require a lot of time if the couple is not in agreement on major issues. If an agreement is not reached, the couple may choose divorce litigation.
Mediation can occur when a case has already started. For divorce collaboration, the couple must be willing to accommodate the concerns, needs, and interests of their former partner.
Some of the benefits of mediation include the following:
- is less expensive than litigation
- is less time-consuming than a trial
- is more opportunity for communication
- allows the couple to control their divorce;
- is a confidential process
- ends in the settlement of all divorce issues
The Bottom Line
Divorce collaboration may be a good option for couples that can communicate well, whereas mediation may be better for those who need assistance reaching an agreement, but still want to avoid divorce litigation.
Contact Our New Jersey Attorneys at 732-585-1651
Toms River Attorneys
Mediation is a much more personalized process than divorce litigation. Rather than having impersonal and strict guidelines determine various aspects of your divorce—including child support, equitable distribution of property, child custody, and alimony—you and your spouse can work together to find a resolution that’s best for everyone involved.
How We Can Help
When you choose our lawyers, you will benefit from our vast experience and sound legal counsel. We act as strong advocates for our clients throughout the mediation process, helping to find solutions for even the most heated of disagreements. We conduct four-way meetings with all involved parties and attorneys, working towards mutually beneficial agreements whenever possible. We put the interests of our clients first and can even help you with extremely complex divorces and family law matters. If for some reason, mediation is not an appropriate approach for a given situation, we are prepared to aggressively advocate for you in the litigation process.