Is Your Best Choice Collaborative Divorce or Mediation?

To answer this question, both you and your spouse must take several factors into consideration.

First, think about your comfort level during discussions and negotiations. Would you prefer to have an attorney there to advise you in real time? Or would you be comfortable speaking for yourself in front of your spouse and the mediator?

In mediation, you and your spouse are strongly encouraged to consult with your own separate, individual attorneys outside of the sessions. If you get legal advice from your attorney outside the session, do you feel that you would be able to translate and apply that advice to discussions within the mediation session?

Sometimes there is a substantial power imbalance (financial, emotional, etc.) between spouses. Do either or both of you feel that you might want or need the presence and support of your attorney or another professional in the room? If so, the collaborative process may be a better choice (even though mediation sessions can include attorneys and other professionals), because the collaborative process is designed to include attorneys and other neutral professionals.

Is it important to you that both of your attorneys are committed to resolving your issues out of court? If so, the collaborative process is probably a better choice for you.

Do you think you could benefit from the input of other professionals, such as a financial neutral, child specialist, or divorce coach? Financial neutrals and child specialists are used in both mediation and the collaborative process. Divorce coaches are used most effectively in the collaborative process.

Do you feel that your situation is fairly straightforward and that you and your spouse agree on a number issues? Then mediation may be the best and most cost-effective choice for you.

Consider All the Factors

Mediation is likely your best choice if:

  • You are comfortable speaking for yourself during negotiations.
  • You feel confident that you can integrate your attorney’s advice into your decisions during mediation sessions.
  • You don’t think you’ll use a divorce coach.
  • You and your spouse already agree on a number of issues.
  • You want to minimize attorney time.

The collaborative process is likely your best choice if:

  • You prefer to have your attorney present during discussions.
  • You are not confident that you can integrate your attorney’s advice into your decisions during negotiations.
  • You want assurance that your spouse’s attorney is committed to resolving matters in a way that takes your needs into consideration and staying out of court
  • You think you might use a divorce coach, financial neutral, or child specialist.
  • You feel there is a substantial power imbalance.

Be In Control, Not In Court

Keep in mind that both the collaborative and mediation processes can be significantly less costly, time-consuming, and stressful than traditional, litigated divorces.

According to a February 2009 article in Washingtonian Magazine, in an uncomplicated traditional divorce in the Washington metropolitan area, you and your spouse would each spend at least $10,000 in legal fees. If you have any complex property or parenting issues, you can run that figure up to $50,000 each. Going to trial doubles that to over $100,000 each.

You have options for settling matters calmly, compassionately, constructively, and cost-effectively. With either collaborative divorce or mediation, you’ll be in control, not in court.

Collaborative divorce attorney, negotiated divorce settlements, family and business dispute mediation, uncontested divorce, and parenting coordination services for clients across Northern Virginia, including Fairfax, Arlington, Loudoun, and Prince William counties, and communities of Alexandria, Arlington, Centerville, Chantilly, Dulles, Falls Church, Great Falls, Herndon, Lorton, Manassas, McLean, Mount Vernon, Reston, Springfield, Tysons Corner, and Vienna; office located in the City of Falls Church, inside the Beltway (495) and I-66.
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