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What is the difference between collaborative law and mediation?

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2024 | Divorce Mediation

Collaborative law and family law mediation are ways for divorcing couples to resolve any disagreements about their split without going to court. However, the two process are different in some important respects:

In a collaborative divorce, the divorcing couple and their attorneys will agree up front to work together to reach a fair agreement over common divorce issues like property division, child custody and parenting time and support.

As part of their agreement, the parties also agree to exchange financial and other information freely. They must commit to resolving their divorce amicably.

Either side may choose at any time to go forward with a contested hearing in front of a judge, but in that case, both attorneys must withdraw from the matter, meaning both sides will need new lawyers.

As the parties and attorneys work through the issues, they may rely on financial experts, therapists and other professionals for help making decisions.

Mediation is a court-approved process that uses a third party

On the other hand, in a divorce mediation, the couple is only agreeing to use a qualified mediator to help them resolve any outstanding issues in their divorce.

As a neutral third party, the mediator is supposed to help a divorcing couple reach an agreement so they can finalize their divorce without going to court.

However, the process is voluntary. If either side does not want to continue with the mediation, the case simply moves forward. The couple will not have to change lawyers.

The process is also confidential. This allows both sides to be open about the strengths and weaknesses in their respective cases.

Both mediation and collaborative law can be good options

Both collaborative law and mediation allow divorcing couples in Knoxville to save themselves the time, money and stress of going to court.

They also give the couple some measure of control over how their lives will look after they divorce instead of leaving their finances and relationship with their children largely in the hands of a judge.

Finally, mediation and collaborative law can help divorcing parents set a positive tone that in turn could help their children better adjust to a divorce.

Tennessee couples going through a divorce should consider both of these legal options carefully.