Collaborative law and mediation both fall into the category of techniques used for alternative dispute resolution. Though they both aim to keep you and your spouse out of court during your divorce, they have some significant differences.
Collaborative law requires you to work together, but if you can’t come to an agreement then your attorneys have to step down. With mediation, your attorneys can help you go to trial if your sessions don’t result in a settlement.
Why is collaborative law different from mediation?
There are a few things that make collaborative law different from mediation. Collaborative law:
- Involves at least two attorneys who work with their clients
- Focuses on collaborating in a less formal atmosphere
- Will end if either person decides to go to trial
- Asks that attorneys step down from the case if anyone goes to trial
With collaborative law’s rules, those who decide not to work on a solution and instead to go to trial will end up costing themselves more time and money. They have to find new attorneys and likely start from scratch.
Mediation is different because it is nonbinding. Mediation also:
- Involves at least two attorneys, the divorcing couple and a mediator
- Focuses on discussing disputes in a calm environment
- Has a mediator give input on how decisions could affect either person
- Allows each party to decide if they do or do not want to agree to different options
- Allows the attorneys to stay on the case if it goes to trial
- Allows any resolutions made in the sessions to be binding or non-binding
Each of these processes is a little bit different, so it’s a good idea to think about your goals before you choose which method of dispute resolution to use. If you want to keep your attorney no matter what happens, then mediation may be a better choice. If you want to settle outside court at all costs, then collaborative law may be a better bet. Your attorney can go over each of these choices with you to help you decide on one that will be right for you based on the specifics of your case.