11 Feb Collaborative Divorce Vs Mediation – What to Know
No two divorces are the same and there is no one way to get divorced. Many couples try to avoid court if possible. This is known as alternative dispute resolution (ADR). A recent Custody X Change study found that 93 percent of divorcing parents tried an alternative dispute resolution method – often more than once. Slightly more than half of all respondents used mediation.
If the time comes, you will want a family law attorney to guide you throughout. The team at Navarrette Bowen P.C. can help. There are, in fact, there are five ways you can get divorced. Below, we will discuss two – collaborative divorce and mediation.
Collaborative divorce is also known as collaborative law. If your first instinct is that it has to do with you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse collaborating, think again. It is a process that combines the “traditional” divorce method of divorce using attorneys and mediation.
In a collaborative divorce, each spouse has their own attorney. That attorney is advocating for the best outcome for their client, so cannot represent both parties. The attorney is trained in collaborative law practice.
Divorce has a reputation for being combative for a reason. Not only does it involve the emotional toll that comes with separating from your spouse, but many things become contentious in a divorce, such as custody and the splitting of assets. Divorce attorneys can be combative as they fight for the best outcome for their clients. In collaborative practice, both attorneys and the parties involved sign a participation agreement. The agreement speaks to the tone of negotiations moving forward. It states they are committed to using cooperative dispute resolution techniques instead of combative tactics.
A series of meetings then take place between the spouses and their attorneys. Throughout these meetings, any professionals that are needed – such as financial professionals to discuss retirement funds – attend as well. Mediators are notably involved to help with the negotiations. If the parties cannot reach an agreement by the end, the spouses continue in family court. However, the attorneys they were using are disqualified from representing them in those proceedings. Each party must retain a new attorney.
Mediation is a resolution method that involves the two spouses and a neutral third party, the mediator. The mediator may or may not be an attorney. They have been trained and certified as a mediator.
Spouses can choose to have attorneys or not for mediation. Throughout the mediation process, the mediator will identify what needs to be discussed and settled throughout the mediation process. They will act as a peacemaker to help spouses agree. The agreement that gets drafted is not binding, and the parties can choose to not sign it. This differs from arbitration, where the decision an arbitrator makes is binding.
If an agreement cannot be reached in mediation, spouses can then go to family court.
There are notable differences between mediation and collaborative divorce. The biggest differences are the time to complete the process and the cost.
● Mediation cost: $7,000 to $10,000 per couple.
● Collaborative cost: $25,000 to $50,000 depending on case complexity, the cooperation level between the parties, and the number of outside professionals engaged in the process.
● Cost of divorce (if the parties need to go to family court): $78,000 to $200,000.
The nature of the process is different as well. Mediation is less adversarial, and spouses can feel a bit more in control of the process. Attorneys are acting as advisors in a collaborative divorce. If they are in mediation, it is more to oversee any final agreements and the process.
Attorneys To Help Through Either Option – Navarrette Bowen P.C.
Whether you decide to mediate, collaborate, or even litigate, Navarrette Bowen P.C. is here to help you through it. Our attorneys can litigate for you, read over an agreement reached in mediation, or sit through the collaborative process. If you are going through a divorce in Denton and need legal guidance, contact our office today.
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