What is the difference between Divorce Mediation and Collaborative Divorce?

Divorce Mediation and Collaborative Divorce are essentially the same with the exception that in the Collaborative Divorce process the spouses must hire new attorneys to represent them if they want to file a lawsuit before all of the marital affairs have been settled.

Most Florida Divorce Mediations and Collaborative Divorces in Florida utilize the same basic concept of trying to promote “resolution” instead of “conflict”. A “Collaborative Divorce Session” is almost the exact same thing as “Divorce Mediation Session” with the exception that Collaborative Divorce sessions oftentimesonly focus on resolving one particular issue between spouses at a time. In other words, during one Collaborative Divorce session spouses will agree upon dividing the family business, on another session they will agree on to an amount of child support, etc.

Proponents of “Collaborative Divorce” argue the process is better for the family unit because there is less conflict than the traditional divorce obtained through “litigation”. However, the fact is most divorces obtained through the “Divorce Litigation” route are actually very peaceful with the only “litigation” being the filing of the divorce petition that has to be filed at the end of the Collaborative Divorce process as well. Proponents of Divorce Mediation argue that Collaborative Divorce is a process that does not work unless both spouses are well versed in the extent of their incomes and assets.

At the end of the day both Divorce Mediation and Collaborative Divorce are effective ways to resolve the legal issues associated with dissolving a marriage in Florida. Divorce Mediation could be more practical than Collaborative Divorce on the basis that if a settlement cannot be reached, and it is necessary to have a judge decide something, both parties do not have to hire new attorneys who will need to be paid to “learn the case” that the Collaborative Divorce lawyer was already paid good money to learn.

For spouses that have the “more than average size” marital estate, the Collaborative Divorce process may be best from a psychological standpoint since the entire Collaborative Divorce process is developed around both parties being committed to settlement before a court case is filed. If Collaborative negotiations fail, these parties still have enough money to afford to pay another lawyer to start from the beginning to learn the facts of their case.

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