Many couples want to keep things civil when their marriage ends. There are two common methods of reaching a divorce agreement that doesn’t involve adversarial proceedings in front of a judge. When choosing collaborative divorce vs. mediation, which is right for you depends on what you deem essential to lead your best life.

What Is Collaborative Divorce?

When couples have complex issues to sort out, but both partners want to avoid going to court, collaborative divorce may be a solution. In a collaborative divorce, each spouse has their own attorney, and all agree to keep the matter out of court.

Each lawyer tries to negotiate the best outcome for their client, as they would in an adversarial situation. Lawyers will advise their clients on the legal implications of the potential settlement terms.

Both sides may call in outside experts like accountants or financial advisors, therapists, child welfare experts, and appraisers to offer opinions. If the parties can’t agree, the lawyers must withdraw, and the couple will have to start over with new representation. As a result, a collaborative divorce can take longer than a mediated divorce settlement.

How Is Mediation Different Than Collaborative Divorce?

In a mediated divorce, the partners may have their own lawyers to advise them, but it isn’t required. A single, impartial third-party mediator, who may or may not be a lawyer or clergyperson, sits with each partner to discover their desired outcome.

A mediator may shuttle between the spouses or sit with them simultaneously to encourage compromise and agreement on each important point of their divorce, from property division to child custody and support. If they reach an agreement, the mediator will draw up a settlement document and, with the divorcing spouse’s consent, file it in court for approval and finalization.

With mediation, couples can set their own timetable, and because they are negotiating directly with each other through the mediator (rather than gathering opinions from several additional experts), mediation can take less time than a collaborative divorce.

A mediator is not there to give advice, only to help the parties find where they can agree on the terms of their divorce.

Which Method To Choose

Determining whether collaborative divorce vs. mediation is best for you depends on several factors. If you and your spouse can work together amicably to sort out your property, agree about what’s best for your kids, and determine how each person will contribute to child support, mediation may be the quickest and least expensive option.

However, if one or both of you owns a business, or if there is a significant difference in income and earning potential that will affect one spouse’s lifestyle more than the other’s, collaborative divorce may be the better route. While the legal fees may be higher, so are the stakes for a comfortable post-divorce life and relationship with your children.

West Texas residents can find help from an experienced divorce attorney in Amarillo, TX, at the Northern Law Firm. Call Northern today for a consultation.