Three Available Process Options for Obtaining a Divorce

 

 

Collaborative Practice

Mediation

Litigation

Attorneys

Each spouse has his or her own attorney to assist with negotiations during the meeting.

The mediator facilitates discussions. Spouses can meet with consulting attorneys privately before or after mediation meetings. Consulting attorneys can participate in the mediation if necessary.

Attorneys use tactics to fight and "win" for their side. This often results in extreme positioning, protracted litigation, and substantial harm to future family relationships.

Emotional Stress

Meetings promote mutual respect and openness.

Meetings promote mutual respect and openness.

Adversarial atmosphere in and out of court exacerbates family's stress.

Cost

Costs are usually less than litigation.

Costs are usually substantially less than litigation. This is usually the lowest cost option.

Costs are unpredictable and often escalate to tens of thousands of dollars and more, especially if attorneys make the case personal to them.

Decision Making

Spouses make final decisions affecting family and finances.

Spouses make final decisions affecting family and finances.

Although most litigated cases are settled, outcomes are unpredictable. If settlement cannot be achieved, a judge will make final decisions.

Privacy

Discussions and negotiation details are kept private.

Discussions and negotiation details are kept private and privileged under California law.

Details of divorce become public record and may be available on line.

Mental Health and Child Specialist

Coaches and child specialists assist the family with emotional and child-centered issues.

Coaches and child specialists are usually not involved; however, they may be added to the process as needed.

Costly reports may be ordered by attorneys or the judge to determine custody and visitation.

Financial and Tax Experts

Jointly retained accountants help the couple consider various options for support and property division.

The mediator facilitates discussions regarding options for support and property division. Accountants may be added to the process as needed.

Separate accountants are hired to support the parties' positions, often writing expensive reports for the judge.

Timing

Most cases are complete in a few months to a year.

Most cases are complete in a few months to a year.

Scheduling conflicts of attorneys and judges cause frustrating delays.

 

Mediation and Collaborative Law: Similarities and Differences

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