What is the difference between mediation and collaborative divorce?

Divorce in Pennsylvania can be an extremely tough process for all involved. The more a divorce drags on, the worse it tends to get for a family and their loved ones. Avoiding in-court divorce proceedings can help relieve some of this pressure and negativity. If both spouses want to find a middle ground and avoid litigation, there are two choices: mediation and collaborative divorce.

The benefits of mediation

The first alternative you can choose is mediation. Mediation is an out-of-court process used to produce an agreement between two parties. Instead of pursuing a lawsuit, the two parties will go into mediation with a third party. While mediation is common in business disputes, it can be used for divorce as well. Both spouses will work with that third party, the mediator, until an agreement is achieved.

The benefits of this option include:

  • The lowering of legal costs since mediation does not require lawyers
  • A much faster moving process than an in-court divorce
  • A fresh third-party perspective from the mediator
  • An outcome agreed to by both parties

The benefits of collaborative divorce

A second option is something known as collaborative divorce. The most significant difference between collaborative divorce and mediation is the agreement is hashed out by both spouses’ attorneys instead of by a single third party mediator. This typically involves meetings with both the spouses and their attorneys present in which the terms of the divorce settlement are negotiated.

The benefits of this option include:

  • Your lawyer’s job is to look out for your own best interest
  • Reaching an out-of-court settlement will take less time than in-court proceedings
  • You will get your say regarding issues like child custody, asset distribution and more
  • The settlement will be decided with your input and not by a judge alone
  • Your lawyer, unlike a mediator, can give you legal advice

Weigh the pros and cons of each option as well as the possibility of taking your divorce to court. Both you and your spouse are adults. You should be able to find middle ground. One way to do that is through either mediation or a collaborative divorce.