People may choose to divorce for a variety of reasons, and sometimes the split is amicable. In such instances, the two parties may not deem it necessary to seek a divorce through the court.

Many divorcing parties appreciate the benefits of alternative divorce options, such as a collaborative divorce or divorce mediation. When choosing between the two, it is important to understand what sets them apart.

Similarities

As alternative means for divorce, collaborative divorce and divorce mediation share several important characteristics. Both options help to settle the divorce out of court, which helps to keep them private matters. Also, rather than a third party making the decisions for the parties, the divorcing individuals must agree to specific terms amongst themselves. This helps to avoid a combative environment and fosters working together, which can be beneficial in maintaining a positive relationship in the future. Though there is no judge, a party that is acknowledged by the court does help to facilitate the proceedings.

Differences

Though mediation and collaborative divorce have strong similarities, one of the most distinguishing differences is their processes. The process for a collaborative divorce is lead by the collaborative lawyers, while a mediator leads mediation. Parties may still consult with their lawyers before and after mediation sessions, but the attorneys do not usually attend the mediation sessions. On the other hand, collaborative attorneys receive specific training and a designation to be able to participate in a collaborative law divorce. By entering into the collaborative divorce setting, the attorneys agree to work together to aid the parties in reaching a mutual decision, without either party escalating matters into litigation. During the course of mediation, either party’s attorney could initiate litigation, taking the case to court.

Every divorce is different and depends on the parties involved. Take some time to consider the distinct attributes of a collaborative divorce and divorce mediation, and determine how either option could apply to your situation.