There are various alternatives to litigation when a couple gets divorced. Both mediation and collaborative divorce are popular ways to avoid a trial. For representation and more information about alternative dispute resolutions contact a Montgomery County divorce lawyer.

What is Mediation in Divorce?

Mediation is a divorce technique where two spouses come together with a neutral third party to hash out the details of their split. The mediator, who does not have any personal gain from the outcome, helps guide the conversation and ensure a peaceful conversation. Only the spouses have the power to make decisions.

What is a Collaborative Divorce?

In collaborative divorce either spouse will retain an attorney. The couple and their representatives will meet to negotiate the divorce agreement. The lawyers are typically very involved in the process and help ensure their client’s rights are protected.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Each?

There are both pros and cons to mediation and collaborative divorce. Which one you and your spouse choose to utilize, if either, will depend on your unique relationship. Every marriage is different and what works for one couple may not work for another. Consider both the pros and cons of either option before choosing a path for your divorce.

Mediation pros:

  • Mediation is much more time-efficient than traditional litigation. Depending on the specifics of your divorce and decisions that need to be made mediation could take as little as one to two sessions to resolve.
  • It is cost effective especially because you do not have to pay attorney or court fees. You may come to an agreement in just a few days and only have to pay for the time you used to negotiate.
  • It allows you and your partner to come to a unique agreement. Because you have total control over the outcome you can be much more flexible than you could if you went to trial and use creative approaches to problem solve.

Mediation cons:

  • If you and your partner have a relationship that is amicable enough to use mediation you may not need outside help at all. While it is more cost and time-efficient than most other options, it may be unnecessary if you and your partner can create an agreement on your own.
  • If you cannot come to a satisfactory agreement during mediation you may end up going to litigation anyway. This will add some time and money depending on how long you spent on mediation and it may feel like a waste.

Collaborative divorce pros:

  • Collaborative divorce is generally more time and cost-efficient than litigation. Depending on your and your spouse’s opinions your divorce agreement could be resolved quickly.
  • Litigation is a stressful process. With only a few people in the room and an advocate by your side, collaborative divorce allows you to avoid distress from a trial.
  • Hiring an attorney can ensure that your rights are protected and that you are not accidentally agreeing to an unfair settlement.

Collaborative divorce cons:

  • It is more costly than mediation because of the need to retain a lawyer.
  • If collaborative divorce does not work and you move to litigation your lawyer can no longer represent you and you will have to find a new attorney.
  • Decisions will be made with significant input from both your and your spouse’s attorney so there is not quite as much room for flexibility.