Some couples are unhappy with their relationships and must go through the divorce process. For many couples, that means going through a court, but this option seems too dramatic and unnecessary for others. Thankfully, there are other options, like collaborative divorce or mediation. They sound similar, so it’s hard to know whether a collaborative divorce or mediation is right for you. But there are critical differences that can make one the better option for you and your partner, so it’s important to learn which is right for you.

What Is a Collaborative Divorce?

So, how is a collaborative divorce different from a traditional divorce? In a traditional or contested divorce, one spouse will serve the other with divorce papers, and the two must go through the court. Alternatively, a collaborative divorce has each spouse with their own representative. These representative attorneys give legal advice and help draft the final agreements they put through the court. These lawyers help the divorce process go smoothly, keeping arguments to a minimum. With lawyers present, both parties can be civil and lay out the arrangements that work best for both parties, specifically regarding finances and child arrangements.

What Is Mediation?

While a collaborative divorce will have each party with a lawyer representing their best interests, mediation typically involves a third party that helps with negotiations. This mediation lawyer can help with:

  • Property division
  • Parenting plans
  • Other financial arrangements

Collaborative divorce attorneys will advocate for their clients, while the mediator aims to keep negotiations civil and productive. For a mediator to do their job effectively, they normally meet with each spouse individually to gain an understanding of their goals with the divorce.

Which Is Right for You?

While both collaborative divorce and mediation are similar, it all comes down to how you view your case. Mediators will remain neutral and help facilitate the divorce process, trying to get you and your spouse to work together to come to mutually fair solutions. Mediators empower you to find a resolution between you and your partner by yourself. On the other hand, lawyers in a collaborative divorce will advise each party.

Logistically, a mediated divorce can go faster than a collaborative divorce, and collaborative divorces are typically more expensive as you’ll hire more representatives. A mediated divorce is great, but it also depends on the amicability of your spouse. A collaborative divorce may be the better option in situations where they are less than agreeable.

Finding out whether collaborative divorce or mediation is right for your relationship isn’t the easiest, but once you learn the differences, you can better find your way forward. Even though both a collaborative divorce and mediation are preferable to court, they can still be tricky to navigate. At Schiller DuCanto & Fleck, we understand this difficulty and want to help as much as possible. Our Illinois cooperative divorce attorneys can help you through these negotiations and get you the outcome that works for you.