Divorce is costly, whether a couple has a lot of money to work with or not. Court and attorney fees can add up quickly as legal proceedings drag on. Mediation is a cost-effective alternative to traditional divorce that can save a couple thousands in legal fees. Another option for separating partners looking to avoid the courtroom is a collaborative divorce.

Collaborativedivorce.net defines collaborative divorce as “a method of practicing law in which the lawyers for both sides agree to assist the clients to resolve conflicts by employing cooperative techniques rather than adversarial strategies and litigation.” Collaborative law is the process of settling disputes outside the courtroom, so a collaborative law divorce refers to settling issues without litigation but still with professional assistance. All parties involved in the divorce must enter a “Participation Agreement” that ensures the lawyers will not continue into the consequent litigation if a settlement is not made during the collaborative divorce process.

According to ABC10 News, a Collaborative Law divorce can cost up to three times as much as mediation, but still less than court proceedings. While mediation involves a single mediator that facilitates decisions between the two parties, Collaborative Law divorces involves more professional support for each person. Both divorcees work with their own attorney, a personal divorce coach, as well as a financial advisor. A Collaborative Law divorce process will most likely take longer than divorce mediation because of all the extra people involved, though still less overall time than going to court.

Divorce mediation and collaborative divorce are both usually less expensive and faster options than litigation, but not all couples may qualify for these strategies to work. These alternatives take cooperation and openness from each side. Divorce mediation works better for some couples and collaborative law works better for others. It is important for your mediator and/or lawyers to help you understand the differences.

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