What Is The Difference Between Collaborative Law and Collaborative Mediation?
A most important difference between collaborative mediation and collaborative law is how lawyers participate and what happens if the spouses do not resolve all their issues. As mentioned above, collaborative law requires spouses to have collaborative divorce lawyers whom they must replace if the spouses are not successful in settling everything in the collaborative law process.
In contrast, a party to collaborative mediation is not required to have legal counsel. A spouse who does have a divorce lawyer, on the lawyer’s advice and using his or her own good judgment, can decide if the divorce lawyer will attend one or more collaborative mediation sessions. The client may decide instead to ask the lawyer to assist offline to counsel him or her toward an amicable resolution, develop options, review agreements, and do legal paperwork. If there is no settlement in collaborative mediation, the spouses may continue to use the same lawyers throughout, even if their lawyers are trained in collaborative law. Having control over the involvement of the lawyers in collaborative mediation significantly improves the couple’s ability to control the cost of the divorce. For those clients who fear lawyers will “stir the pot”, their ability to decide the lawyer’s role in collaborative mediation ensures that any conflict will be of their own creation, not their lawyer’s.
In summary, savvy divorcing families, collaborative lawyers, divorce financial advisors, judges, counselors, and other professionals whose practices serve families have applauded collaborative mediation as a fresh innovation in cost effective, client-centered, family-friendly divorce. Collaborative mediation has proven itself to be an attractive new solution for divorcing spouses who want to focus toward positive independent lives with their emotional and financial stability – and their family – still intact. For divorce and family professionals, it has also opened the door to a more fulfilling and satisfying practice.