Process Options for Divorce

Mediation

  • Cooperative problem-solving process
  • Voluntary
  • Private and confidential
  • Goal is mutually acceptable durable agreement
  • Informal information gathering
  • Parties control costs, timing and results
  • Usually costs less than collaborative or litigation
  • Attorney facilitates settlement
  • Attorney does not represent either party and if appropriate recommends use of consulting attorneys to advise
  • Neutral specialists possible (financial, child, etc.)
  • Family-centered
  • Creative solutions not limited by the law
  • Respectful communication encouraged
  • Interest-based negotiation encouraged
  • Clients determine and customize the outcome
  • Out of court settlements

Collaborative

  • Similar to mediation but with more client support
  • Cooperative problem-solving process
  • Voluntary
  • Private and confidential
  • Goal is mutually acceptable durable agreement
  • Informal information gathering
  • Each client has own collaborative legal counsel
  • Each client may have own divorce coach
  • Neutral financial and child specialists optional
  • Provides education and support to families
  • Provides a team for gathering information and creative problem solving
  • Clients are supported and advised by their attorney and coach
  • Family and child centered
  • Creative solutions not limited by law
  • Respectful communication encouraged
  • Interest-based negotiation encouraged
  • Clients determine and customize the outcome
  • Out of court settlements

Litigation

  • Many cases negotiated between attorneys and/or parties and never go to court
  • At court level, goal is often win-lose
  • Formal comprehensive information gathering
  • Formal legal process for resolving disputes
  • Focus on legal rights and standards
  • Fairness is determined by the law
  • In best scenarios, resolution through communication between attorneys/parties and/or meetings
  • Court involvement at every level in worst scenarios
  • Decisions made by third party if no resolution between attorneys/parties
  • Parties do not control the cost, timing or results
  • Public process
  • Usually more expensive than either mediation or collaborative divorce
  • Sometimes more stressful than mediation or collaborative divorce