Three Key Differences Between Collaborative Divorce And Mediation

Do you find collaborative and mediated divorce confusing? Most people do because the two processes both involve handling your divorce outside the courtroom.

In a collaborative approach, you both hire lawyers, like the ones found at Law Office of Alan L Ruder, (and possibly other professionals such as financial advisors) and work out your divorce agreement. For a mediated divorce, you sit down with a neutral mediator who facilitates the process. It's not a must to have lawyers, but it's advantageous. However, these aren't the only differences between these two approaches. Further differences include:

Who Handles Litigation

Ideally, both a collaborative and mediated divorce should end in an out-of-court agreement. Unfortunately, things don't always work out like that, and you may be forced to shelve your plans and head to court.

If this happens, then the lawyers who were handling your collaborative divorce won't handle the litigation. They have to disqualify themselves, and you have to get new lawyers. As you may suspect, this may make the whole process expensive. On the other hand, lawyers handling a mediated divorce can go on to represent their clients in court.

Who Is In Charge

It's not necessary to have lawyers handle your mediation, but it's advantageous to do so. However, even if you do hire attorneys, it is the two of you who will be involved in the discussions and not your respective lawyers. The lawyers are there to advise you on legal issues, and the mediator is there to facilitate the process. The mediator does this, for example, by making sure everybody gets the opportunity to express his or her views.

This is different from a collaborative divorce in which you need lawyers. In this case, you will have separate sessions with your respective lawyers as well as joint sessions with everybody present.


Another integral difference between the two processes is the approach they take. Collaborative divorce takes a team approach in which both lawyers (though they represent different parties) strive to deliver an agreement beneficial to both parties. Mediation is more or less like a negotiation process where you both want the best possible outcome.

This may be the reason collaboration involves the input of professionals such as childcare experts and financial advisers. The same thing can also happen in a mediated divorce, but in most cases, it doesn't.

Both collaboration and mediation can work well if you have the right help and understand them well. The key to success is to get a thorough understanding of both processes first before beginning any process.