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The Difference Between Collaborative Law and Mediation

I often get asked, “What is the difference between Collaborative Law and Mediation?” in an initial consultation with a potential client. It’s a great question and I love talking about the benefits of each process. At the end of the day, not many people want to go to Court but maybe they do not know about the other amazing options out there.

What is Collaborative Law?

Collaborative Law is a team approach to getting through a divorce. I often say it gives you the tools to work together and come up with creative solutions for your situation. It prepares you for resolving future conflict between your family. Everyone has his or her own attorney but then there are two neutral professionals that help move the process along. .

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a great alternative to litigation so much so that the Court’s are now almost forcing you to participate in mediation before you can get before a Judge. A mediator will be the neutral facilitator between you and your partner to try and move you each towards settlement.

What is the Difference Between Collaborative Law and Mediation?

The main differences between Collaborative Law and Mediation are:

  • Counsel – you are required to have your own attorney in the Collaborative Process. In mediation, you can go unrepresented.
  • Discovery – as part of the Collaborative Process you will gather all of your financial documents and work through a future budget with a highly qualified financial professional. In mediation, it is expected that you have shared all financial information with your partner prior to the mediation session and you are coming in with a plan of what you want.
  • Team Approach – in Collaborative Law there is a team to support you and your partner through the divorce process. Each member of the team is trying to come up with unique solutions to your individual set of facts. The sky is the limit when you have everyone brainstorming ideas! In mediation, it is usually just the individuals proposing what they believe is in his or her best interests and trying to get the other person to compromise. Mediation is great when the issues are few and the solutions are black and white.
  • Court – in the Collaborative Process, the parties agree not to go to Court. They sign an agreement that commits them to the Collaborative Process and promise that they will get new lawyers if they break that promise. The thought of losing your attorney and having to get new counsel keeps people motivated and focused on settling the issues. In Mediation if things do not settle, you can have your attorney file a motion and request a hearing. Often times knowing that you can have a hearing if things do not work in Mediation doesn’t push people to try and settle, thinking they may do better in front of a Judge.

Next Steps

To learn more about the benefits of Collaborative Law and Mediation and which process is best for you, feel free to contact us for a consultation. We are conveniently located in downtown Nashua with plenty of free parking. Call or e-mail today to schedule an appointment and leave with a plan of action. 603-943-5647

Katherine J. Morneau