Reviewing mediation and collaborative divorce opportunities

If you are facing divorce, you may be dreading the thought of a bitter court battle, especially if you and your spouse have children.

There are other options that give you more control over your divorce. Both collaborative law and mediation have advantages and are worth considering.

Understanding collaborative law

One of the major problems with traditional litigation is that you put the outcome of your divorce in the hands of a judge. In a collaborative divorce, control remains with you and your spouse. You will both engage the services of attorneys trained in collaborative law. You will meet with your respective attorneys privately, and together as needed, and exchange information voluntarily. In this way, you can work out an agreement that addresses issues such as division of assets, spousal and child support, child custody and visitation matters.

Opting for mediation

Mediation shares certain points with collaborative law in that it is a private process handled outside of court and is a faster, more economical, more civil alternative to litigation. However, whereas in a collaborative divorce, you and your spouse use separate attorneys, in the mediation process you both meet with a neutral third party. This professional, a trained mediator, guides you in the task of negotiating your own divorce agreement.

While mediation is popular with couples who are ending their marriage amicably, it is also an effective option for those embroiled in a contentious divorce. You and your spouse can present your signed agreement to the judge as the basis on which to finalize your divorce.

Improving the process and the outcome

When you and your spouse choose mediation or collaborative divorce, you will begin your separate lives in a calmer, more dignified manner, feeling more confident about your future. Experience shows that children also fare better emotionally when their parents are able to end the marriage without hostility. Furthermore, since the parties are able to control the process, post-divorce problems occur less often than they do following a contentious divorce in court.