Mediation Vs. Collaborative Divorce – Is There A Difference?

Mediation Vs. Collaborative Divorce - Is There A Difference?

Besides being emotionally tormenting, divorce is also a highly technical affair. It requires a vast amount of knowledge about legal matters and the related provincial laws such as Alberta’s Family Law Act. As a result, many of our clients fall prey to the prevailing misconceptions and myths about the divorce process due to their lack of knowledge. One of the biggest misconceptions, in this regard, is that many couples falsely believe that they need to drag each other to court to attain a divorce decree. However, the contrary is true.

To this end, a knowledgeable audience is aware that opting for a mediation service can help couples reach a settlement outside of court. Yet, there is rarely a person who fully understands what mediation entails and how it is different from other divorce aspects and options.

As family lawyers who draft and file 8% of Edmonton’s total divorces (which is the maximum any company has reached thus far) we often come across numerous clients who fail to understand their rights and the options that they have.

To encourage better decision-making and make the divorce process less traumatic, we shall use this blog to discuss mediation and collaborative divorce in detail. We shall also help you decide which one of the two suits your needs better.

Which One Is Better?

Honestly speaking, neither of these two enjoy superiority above the other. It is not about which option is the best, but which one suits your personal circumstances the best. Hence, your personal affairs will determine the soundest choice for you.

What Is Mediation?

In simple words, mediation is a voluntary family dispute resolution process in which couples decide to sort out their issues outside of court. In this regard, an impartial and neutral third party helps couples reach a satisfactory agreement that is mutually beneficial. However, it is important to note that a mediator does not have the authority to act as a legal representative for any of the two parties, and they may not provide any legal or expert advice.

Nevertheless, both parties have the option to retain an attorney during the mediation process. Throughout the mediation procedure, all the parties are required to meet in the same room (or sometimes different rooms for each party), where both parties are required to identify their issues. The mediator then goes on to clarify the problems and identify each party’s strengths and weaknesses. Then, each party is requested to provide their suggested solution, and the mediator helps the couples identify areas of compromise and proposes a suitable agreement.

However, the mediator does not make a decision for the parties. Instead, they assist the parties in reaching an out-of-court settlement. Any statements or settlements proposed during this process remain confidential and can not be brought up in court.

Situations In Which Mediation Is The Best Solution

  • When couples value confidentiality and collectively desire a quick resolution
  • When a cost-efficient method is the spouses’ priority
  • When the couple has an excellent reciprocal understanding and wants to reach a mutually beneficial decision

What Is Collaborative Divorce?

Similar to mediation, a collaborative divorce is also a voluntary approach to resolving a family dispute. Even in this case, the idea is to reach a worthwhile agreement without resorting to a court. However, in a collaborative divorce, there is no mediator. Instead, both parties are requested to hire legal representatives to better present their cases. While the judges in a contested divorce are limited by state law when making their final decision, the decision of a collaborative divorce is not limited by state law.

In fact, the parties opting for a collaborative divorce have full control over the ultimate decision. They can reach a decision based on their personal needs and the uniqueness of the situation and in the best interest of both parties. Apart from legal representatives, the parties may also hire experts in other disciplines such as finance and mental health.

It is also imperative to remember that the attorney you hire in this process must be specially trained for the collaborative process.

Like mediation, this process is also confidential. In fact, if the parties are not able to reach a fair outcome and the matter is taken to court, both parties must find new attorneys to represent them in the court’s proceedings.

When Is Collaborative Divorce Suitable?

  • When the divorce involves complex aspects such as child custody, child support, and financial concerns.
  • When parties desire separate legal representation rather than a single impartial party.
  • When there is a lack of understanding amongst the couple.

About The Divorce Company

The Divorce Company’s aim is to make the divorce process less traumatic for every couple by helping them reach an out-of-court settlement. From mediation services to filing a divorce, our services are unmatched all across Edmonton. Contact us to learn more.