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What Is the Difference Between Mediation and a Collaborative Divorce?

 Posted on March 15, 2021 in Divorce

DuPage County divorce attorney

When it comes to choosing a process for getting a divorce, there is no one right or wrong answer for everyone. Some couples disagree on major issues such as property division and child custody so harshly that they end up stuck in hostile litigation, putting unnecessary stress on the whole family. Alternative dispute resolutions, such as mediation and collaborative law, can both provide a solution to divorce litigation and allow couples to settle their divorce outside of the courtroom. However, there are differences between the two methods. Choosing a process for getting a divorce is a very situational and personal decision that can be affected by many factors. Choosing a method that fits your family’s situation can save you a lot of stress in the long run.

Understanding Divorce Mediation

During divorce mediation, the couple works with a neutral, third-party mediator who helps them come to agreements on important topics that they disagree on. The mediator does not take the side of one spouse and does not try to influence either spouse’s decision in any way. The mediator may offer opinions and suggestions during the negotiations, but his or her main job is to act as an intermediary for the couple.

Divorce mediation offers many benefits that the traditional litigated process does not. A mediated divorce allows the couple to stay in control of their divorce, rather than relinquishing control to a judge. Mediation also typically comes with a lower price tag than a litigated divorce or a collaborative divorce, making it an attractive option for many couples. However, because of the nature of mediation, this type of divorce may not be good for spouses who were in abusive relationships or relationships in which one spouse has power over the other, especially financially.

What Is Collaborative Divorce?

In a collaborative divorce, both spouses hire attorneys who have been trained in collaborative law. They then sign a contract stating that they agree to settle the divorce outside of the courtroom and that if they fail, they each must hire new attorneys and start over. Collaborative divorces take place by conducting negotiations through a series of meetings between the spouses, their attorneys, and various other professionals deemed necessary. Professionals such as forensic accountants, financial planners, family counselors, and child therapists can be brought in to assist with making decisions during the negotiations.

Collaborative divorce is similar to mediation in that it allows couples to settle their divorce outside of the courtroom. A collaborative divorce also ensures you and your spouse are the ones making the decisions about your family -- not a judge who has never met you before. Because of the various professionals that may be involved in the case, another benefit of collaborative divorce is that all aspects of your divorce -- emotional, financial, legal -- are taken care of and are given the support that is needed.

Contact a Bolingbrook Divorce Lawyer Today

In almost every case, some form of alternative dispute resolution can be used to settle your divorce. However, the type of method that you choose to use is up to you. At the Law Office of Ronald L. Hendrix, P.C., we understand that this can be a big decision, which is why we are here to help. Call our office today at 630-355-7776 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your situation. Our knowledgeable Will County divorce attorneys will help you determine which type of divorce is best for your family.


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