Divorce can often be an expensive and time-consuming process. As such, an increasing number of couples are exploring alternatives to conventional litigation to achieve an amicable resolution on the terms of their separation. Collaborative divorce and mediation are two of the most popular alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods; both proffer distinctive yet efficacious approaches to divorce proceedings. While these ADR mechanisms offer various advantages, they aren’t suitable for every couple. Please continue reading to learn the differences between these approaches and how a trusted Nassau County Divorce Mediator can help you determine which option may be right for you. 

How Does Divorce Mediation Work?

Divorce mediation is a legal process in which a neutral third party assists couples in reaching a fair settlement agreement. The mediator does not provide legal advice. Instead, they focus on facilitating communications between divorcing parties, helping them identify issues, and guiding them toward a fair resolution.

How Does a Collaborative Divorce Work?

Collaborative divorce, on the other hand, is a legal process in which each party hires an attorney and engages in four-way negotiation sessions to reach a mutually acceptable agreement. The process involves a series of meetings where both party’s attorneys discuss their interests and work towards finding a solution that meets everyone’s needs.

What Are the Key Differences Between the Two?

One of the main differences between mediation and a collaborative divorce is the level of control each party has over the outcome of their case. In a collaborative divorce, both parties retain attorneys to help negotiate divorce terms. However, mediation only involves a mediator. During divorce mediation, divorcing parties can choose to have legal representation present, but it’s not mandatory. In most cases, couples decide to consult their attorneys after the mediation sessions have concluded.

Therefore, in a collaborative divorce, the decision-making is driven by both parties and their attorneys. Mediation, on the other hand, places the decision-making power in the hands of the spouses. The mediator is there to guide discussions and help couples resolve their disputed issues. Despite common misconceptions, the mediator does not make decisions for the couple. The divorcing couple retains power over the outcome and is actively involved in crafting the terms that will apply to the termination of the marriage. The attorneys lead the decision-making process in a collaborative divorce.

Furthermore, mediation can last a few months, whereas collaborative divorce takes a year or more to resolve. However, the timeframe depends on how quickly a couple’s issues can be resolved. Collaborative divorce can take longer to complete and be significantly more expensive than divorce mediation. This is because collaborative divorce may engage experts such as financial professionals or custody specialists.

For more information on which alternative dispute resolution method may suit you, please don’t hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Eyal Talassazan for a consultation.