Divorce Mediation - How An Experienced Neutral Can Help You Reach a Fair Settlement
Divorce mediation is normally a voluntary process where a couple retains a neutral third-party (the mediator) to help facilitate a lasting agreement related to all of the outstanding issues of the divorce. In Massachusetts where I practice, mediators are frequently attorneys, but there are experienced non-attorney mediators. By selecting a mediator who is also an experienced family law lawyer, the mediator can also draft the divorce agreement and the related court paperwork so the couple can then get divorced. Mediation has a number of other benefits. Because the process is less adversarial, couples tend to experience less stress during the divorce process which is also better for children. Having a more respectful process that encourages both sides to be attentive to the concerns of the other promotes more effective post-divorce parenting between the parties. Mediation can also be faster and is usually less expensive than a traditional litigated divorce case.
Collaborative Divorce - The "No Court" Divorce
Unlike mediation, in the collaborative setting each side retains a collaborative lawyer with special training. Oftentimes, other professionals such as a neutral divorce coach or financial professional are part of the collaborative team. A series of team meetings are conducted in an effort to resolve all of the issues, such as parenting plans, support, and the division of marital property. The couple and their attorneys pledge they will not go to court until the details are worked out, which closely aligns the interests of both the clients and their collaborative counsel. A collaborative divorce, like mediation, is private and a dignified approach to resolving the conflict inherent with the winding down of a marriage. The process is respectful of both parties' needs, as well as the interests of any children. A collaborative divorce may be less expensive and faster than a litigated case, but not always.