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What’s the Difference Between Collaborative Divorce and Mediation?

What’s the Difference Between Collaborative Divorce and Mediation?

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution in which spouses meet with a neutral third party to reach agreements regarding the issues in their divorce.  The mediator’s role is to help spouses understand each other’s interests, provide clarity regarding the issues, and help craft the parties’ agreements.  

Not all mediators in Nebraska are lawyers.  However, if you want to mediate all of the issues in your divorce, including the division of your assets and debts, child support, alimony, and the parenting plan, for example, you need to work with an attorney-mediator.

However, in mediation, the attorney-mediator is not allowed to provide you with legal advice regarding your rights and options.  Before finalizing your agreements with a mediator, both spouses have the option to consult with an attorney to ensure that the agreements reached are fair and equitable. 

Like the collaborative divorce process, mediation requires that both parties respect each other and their interests to help develop solutions acceptable to both parties.  Also like mediation, parties are able to make their own decisions regarding the issues in their divorce and reach settlement agreements that best fit their families.  

Unlike mediation, in the collaborative divorce process, both spouses are represented by an attorney to act as their legal advocate through the divorce process.   

However, the major difference between mediation and collaborative divorce is the level of support required or desired from professionals to assist the parties through the divorce action.

In mediation, the mediator acts as the go-between to negotiate each party’s interest until a settlement is reached.  In collaborative divorce, the process relies on trained professionals to reach fair solutions and resolve issues, while supporting each party through the process of restructuring their family and maintaining a focus on the best interests of the parties’ children. 

Both mediation and collaborative divorce are alternative dispute resolution options for spouses seeking a divorce.  

At Koenig|Dunne, we have specially trained attorney-mediators and collaborative divorce attorneys to assist you in the divorce process no matter which path you choose.