John and Sue are getting divorced after 18 years of marriage. But rather than go through time-consuming, costly, and potentially contentious courtroom battles where they air all their dirty laundry in a public forum, they are exploring peaceful alternatives such as collaborative divorce and mediation. The only problem is that they are unsure how they each work.
With collaborative divorce and mediation, the goal is to help divorcing couples move forward quietly, efficiently, and peacefully — thus avoiding the unfortunate consequences of litigation. Below is a breakdown of the two processes:
Collaborative Divorce and Mediation: How Collaborative Divorce works
Collaborative divorce is a way to divorce your spouse while creating a win-win scenario and avoid litigation. Remember, both parties want to get divorced, but they are on amicable terms and wish to maintain a relationship even if they cannot be a couple. So they meet with their respective attorneys privately to discuss their wants, needs, and any potential sticking points that may exist, then the spouses and their lawyers come together to discuss and negotiate the terms of the divorce.
Everything is done in a neutral setting such as a conference room or office — not a courtroom. Typically, an agenda can be created, and each issue is dealt with one by one. Depending on the circumstances, it may take one meeting to iron everything out or a series of negotiations. Once a settlement has been reached, everything will be put in writing and signed by both parties.
Keep in mind that if your divorce becomes contested, the attorneys who were part of the collaborative divorce proceedings cannot represent either spouse. This is because they were only brought in to act as advocates and help negotiate a settlement. Therefore, they cannot represent the same clients in Court.
With that said, clients who opt for collaborative divorce are typically committed to a peaceful resolution.
There are numerous benefits to choosing collaborative divorce:
- Privacy — no need for a stressful courtroom battle
- Maintain an amicable relationship
- Controlled conversations
- Lawyer assistance
- Possibly faster agreements
- Generally less expensive than a trial
- Both clients are in control of the process
Collaborative Divorce and Mediation: How Mediation Works
If an agreement cannot be reached in a collaborative divorce, but the goal for a peaceful resolution remains, couples can opt to bring in an impartial third-party called a mediator. A mediator can also be a lawyer, but they are not there to choose sides or advocate for one party over the other. A mediator also does not provide legal advice, represent either party in Court, set terms, or decide the outcome of a case. Their goal is to settle common disputes (property division, child custody, etc.) amicably.
Mediators allow the parties to understand each other’s positions and needs while assisting the parties in coming up with a creative solution to their case. If successful, the mediator monitors the drafting of the binding agreement that will contain the essential terms of the final Court order. All parties will sign it before everyone leaves.
Just a few benefits of mediation include:
- Privacy — the goal is still to avoid a contentious courtroom battle
- A calm setting for cooler heads to prevail
- Improved communication between spouses
- Focusing on commonalities rather than differences
- Ensuring both parties feel in control
- Educating both spouses on all available options
Call Nelson Law Group today!!
If you are headed toward divorce, you need a trusted advisor in your corner every step of the way. We know the law, but more importantly, we are invested in you and your family — before, during, and after divorce. Give our knowledgeable staff here at Nelson Law Group, PC, a call if you have any further questions regarding this or any other issue.
Our staff is always available. Give us a call today! For more information about Brett A. Nelson, click here.