Comparing and Contrasting Mediation and Collaborative Divorce
If your marriage isn’t working, but you don’t want to go through the bitterness and recriminations that often accompany the traditional divorce process, there are options, including mediation and the collaborative approach to divorce, that will allow you to resolve your difference in a more amicable fashion. You may have heard about these processes, but be unfamiliar with the differences between them. Here’s a comparison of mediation and collaborative divorce.
In mediation, a neutral third party (the mediator) is brought in to facilitate resolution of all disagreements. The mediator does not represent either party and has no vested interest in a particular outcome. As a general rule, the mediator does not weigh evidence, take testimony from witnesses or render any opinion. In some states, the parties may be represented by attorneys, and in other states, attorneys are generally involved only in an advisory role. The parties to mediation can typically reject any proposal or counteroffer from the other party, and typically put all agreements in writing. Mediation is usually less expensive than the traditional divorce process, and can be completed within a fairly short period of time.
In the collaborative process, the parties retain their own legal counsel, but work amongst themselves to find solutions, agreeing to resolve their differences without the intervention of the court. Whereas mediation involves a scheduled proceeding, where parties state their positions and try to come to a resolution, the collaborative process can take place over a period of weeks or months. Often, the parties will engage experts to help resolve issues such as child custody or the division of marital property. If the parties must turn to the court to resolve a dispute, they are usually required to terminate their existing attorney-client relationship and hire new counsel.
At the office of Joanne E. Kleiner & Associates, we have more than 25 years of family law experience. We’ll help you stay focused on what matters. To schedule an appointment with an experienced Pennsylvania divorce attorney, contact our office online or call us at 215-886-1266.