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Collaborative Mediation

Collaborative mediation is the new way of reaching divorce. Collaborative mediation takes the best parts of mediation and collaborative law and combines them into a single, efficient and streamlined process that can be more satisfying and effective than either process taken alone. The integration has yielded a better than expected collaborative mediation settlement rate. Ninety-five percent of collaborative mediation clients resolve all their issues and at a lower cost than collaborative law or litigation.

Collaborative mediation sessions are co-hosted by two professional mediators – a neutral family lawyer and/or a marriage/family counselor. Unlike collaborative law where the joint meetings are conducted by the spouses’ collaborative lawyers, in collaborative mediation a single neutral attorney-mediator guides the couple through the legal decisions they must complete for a valid divorce, and educates about the law without providing legal advice or taking sides. The marriage/family counselor manages emotions and teaches a new way to communicate without doing therapy.

The unique co-mediator team helps spouses gather relevant information, develop options for property division and shared parenting if they have children, and negotiate agreements acceptable to both of them. Instead of requiring all other professionals to attend the settlement meetings at the same time like often happens in collaborative law, the financial, tax, real estate, child, and parenting specialists in a collaborative mediator’s resource network selectively participate in the mediation sessions when and if the spouses and the mediators feel it would be beneficial. Doing it this way saves lots of money and still makes their expertise readily available.

Collaborative mediation retains from mediation:

  1. Neutral mediators to facilitate parties’ negotiations (an attorney-mediator with the Important addition of a marriage/family counselor to manage emotions)
  2. Parties’ ability to decide whether to bring divorce lawyers or to represent themselves
  3. Control over cost
  4. Efficiency and expediency
  5. Collaborative mediation adopts from collaborative law the goals of:
  6. Positive future family relationships
  7. Reducing conflict between parents to ensure children’s well-being
  8. Respectful and constructive communications and negotiations
  9. Preserving spouses’ financial and emotional health

collaborative-mediation

From a process perspective, collaborative mediation mirrors collaborative law with:

  • Full financial disclosure
  • A (shortened) participation agreement in which spouses agree to avoid court
  • Respectful consideration of each spouse’s needs using interest based negotiation
  • Structured negotiation steps
  • A team approach – but with a smaller team of a single attorney-mediator and a marriage/family counselor present and others offline

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