Divorce is often thought to be an extended court process, where opposing lawyers argue the case for days and months before a judge. The fact is that divorce can be amicable and not so aggressive. There are two options for out-of-court divorce settlement – Collaborative and Mediation.
- Divorcing spouses willingly work with an unbiased 3rd party called Mediator. The mediator helps both agree on divorce terms settlement.
- Ideally, the mediator can be a lawyer or a trained mediator who does not practice law.
- Both spouses can work with the same mediator.
- The mediator will make sure that both reach an agreement on crucial issues like child custody & support as well as property & debt allocation.
- After an agreement is reached the mediator drafts a memorandum of understanding, which defines the agreed terms between both parties.
- The collaborative process is led by lawyers from both sides. Both specialize in collaborative law.
- Each lawyer will work toward their client’s best interest.
- Both spouses are given advice and suggestions to help reach approval on divorce terms.
- It is a 4-way meeting, where spouses meet along with their attorneys and negotiate divorce terms. You can even meet separately with your lawyer to discuss some personal concerns or share opinions or receive legal advice.
- Outside experts are also involved in the collaborative process.
- The negotiations are cooperative instead of combative. No one threatens about filing litigation.
Mediation vs. Collaborative
As both mediation and collaborative divorce allow negotiating divorce terms without court trial there is a difference in both these approaches. For the former, you don’t need a lawyer but for the latter, you will need a collaborative lawyer. You can consult the Central Texas Lawyer firm to understand the process in more detail.
As you need to hire a specialized lawyer the cost will be more than retaining a mediator. However, the bright side is that mediator has no legal training and therefore will be unable to offer legal advice. The mediator just acts as an arbitrator and helps to reach a final agreement.
On the other hand, a collaborative attorney offers legal advice and is capable to represent better. However, the cost of the collaborative method is more than mediation because both spouses have to hire their personal lawyers.
What happens if the mediation or collaborative process fails?
If the spouses are unable to agree to mediation or collaboration, then you will need an option for the divorce terms settlement. In Texas, when the collaborative approach fails then the retained attorney will resign.
The spouses will need to hire new litigation attorneys and file a lawsuit to pursue the regular divorce method. A divorce attorney is complicated and expensive as well as the process is more lengthy than collaborative or mediation methods.
Do collaborative attorneys or mediators take sides?
The mediator is a neutral 3rd party and concentrates on helping both spouses to agree and compromise on divorce terms. In the collaborative process, there will be two lawyers involved. Both will work in their client’s best interests, so you can say they may take sides.
The bottom line is that settling outside court saves the stress, time, and money associated with an adversarial divorce trial.