What Is the Difference Between Collaborative Law and Mediation?

If you are approaching a divorce in North Carolina, you may have heard the terms “collaborative law” and “mediation.” Sometimes, these terms are used interchangeably, but they are actually two different concepts. If you want to resolve your divorce in the most efficient, stress-free manner possible, both of these options can be enormously beneficial. But which one is best? What are the main differences between these two approaches? What are the similarities? These are all important questions you may be asking yourself as you approach the end of your marriage and the legal process of separation.

If you want answers, the best person to ask is a qualified family law attorney in North Carolina. Our experienced legal professionals can explain the main differences between mediation and collaborative law, and we can also guide you forward after you choose a specific option. Collaborative law attorneys may be helpful as well, as these lawyers have specific knowledge of the collaborative law process. They can explain how it all works and then help you resolve your marriage in an affordable, stress-free, and expedited manner.

What Is Mediation?

The mediation process is led by a trained individual called a divorce mediator. Sometimes, these individuals are divorce attorneys – but that is not always the case. In theory, just about anyone can act as a mediator. The mediation process involves careful negotiation led by this third-party mediator who is unbiased. Instead of taking sides, this third party tries to act in everyone’s best interests as couples attempt to resolve matters relating to child support, child custody, alimony, property division, and everything else involved with a divorce.

What Is Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative divorce is a legal process that involves both spouses negotiating behind closed doors alongside their attorneys. This process is led by both spouses’ attorneys, who each act in the best interests of their clients. Your collaborative divorce attorney will negotiate on your behalf, but they will also attempt to collaborate and cooperate in order to reach a favorable outcome that everyone can be satisfied with. The end result is a separation agreement or divorce agreement that covers every aspect of the divorce. This contract becomes legally binding after it is approved by a judge.

What Are the Main Differences Between Collaborative Divorce and Mediation?

Collaborative divorce and mediation are different because of who leads the process. In mediation, both spouses hire just one mediator to resolve the various issues. In the collaborative law process, both spouses hire their own attorneys. If you like the idea of having someone to support you and “take your side,” collaborative law can be helpful.

If you do not like the idea of an independent mediator who is trained to be unbiased, you might want to avoid mediation. Even though collaborative divorce lawyers will act in your best interests, they are also trained to mitigate potential conflicts and suggest compromises. This means that collaborative divorce still helps you avoid disputes, even though your attorney will be fighting for your best interests.

What Are the Similarities Between Collaborative Divorce and Mediation?

With all that said, there are many similarities between collaborative divorce and mediation as well. For example, both approaches seek to resolve disputes and potential conflicts without going to court. This can save you significant amounts of time and money, as divorce trials can seriously drag on, and they can result in considerable legal fees. Both mediation and collaborative divorce also limit stress for these same reasons.

Both of these strategies also allow you and your spouse to exert a considerable amount of control over the situation, as you are not putting your divorce in the hands of a judge. Both mediation and collaborative divorce are also helpful for spouses who are splitting up somewhat amicably with very few disagreements on how the separation should be handled. In fact, spouses can even meet privately without a mediator or a collaborative divorce attorney, discuss their goals, and resolve every aspect of their divorce in a matter of days once they seek legal assistance.

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you have been searching the North Carolina area for a qualified collaborative law attorney, look no further than Arnold & Smith, PLLC. Over the years, we have helped many spouses choose the best options for ending their marriages, and we have considerable experience with collaborative law. This option is advantageous for a number of reasons, and we can explain all of these advantages in greater depth during your first consultation. Book your consultation today, and we can help you take your first steps toward a positive resolution.