What is the Difference Between Mediation and Collaboration?

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When most people imagine divorce, they visualize a contentious process that takes place in front of a judge, but did you know that it is possible to get divorced without ever even stepping foot in a courtroom? Mediation and Collaboration are two ways to do just that. If you are interested in getting divorced as quickly and efficiently as possible, both forms of negotiation are worth considering. Many couples prefer these methods of divorce as well because they are a means of keeping all matters related to the divorce private, as opposed to traditional divorces which take place in a courtroom and become a matter of public record.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a process by which a neutral third-party mediator who is trained in dispute resolution helps guide parties toward a mutually agreeable outcome concerning all aspects of their divorce settlement agreement. This includes equitable distribution of property, child custody and parenting plan terms, and alimony or spousal support payments. Mediation is not binding, and parties can change their mind about participating or accepting the terms agreed to at any point. Generally, mediation involves just the two spouses and the third-party mediator. However, parties may also choose to confer with their legal counsel throughout the process. For instance, if spouses can come to a divorce agreement, both parties may choose to have their lawyers review the agreement again before the mediator submits it to the court. Either party may change their mind about moving forward or submit revisions before the agreement is submitted. Once all parties agree to the divorce settlement agreement terms and have had it reviewed by their lawyers if they so choose, the mediator will prepare the agreement and submit it to the court for approval. The judge will then order the agreement into effect without the parties ever having to argue in court.

What is Collaborative Divorce?

In a collaborative divorce, each party has their own attorney, and everyone signs a “no court” agreement, meaning that they are agreeing not to bring the matter to court. In negotiating the terms of their divorce settlement agreement, all four parties (both spouses and their attorneys) will be present and involved. This can be a good option if there is a power imbalance between the parties or if the parties feel more comfortable having their legal representation to advocate for them and represent their interests. Like mediation, if the parties can come to a divorce settlement agreement the agreement can be prepared by the lawyers and submitted to the court to be ordered into effect. If collaborative negotiations do not work out, however, both attorneys must withdraw. The spouses must then find new divorce lawyers and begin the process again in court.

Contact the Law Office of David L. Scott

If you want to get divorced as efficiently and painlessly as possible, the experienced Tennessee divorce attorneys at the Law Office of David L. Scott can help. Contact the Law Office of David L. Scott today to schedule a consultation.

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