Decisions during a divorce can affect you and your family for years to come.  You and your spouse must resolve property division, alimony and child custody arrangements.

Do you and your spouse have businesses in Abington? Are there high-dollar assets? There is much to consider, but you both want to keep your issues and choices out of the hands of the court. What are your options?

Collaborative versus mediation

Collaborative divorce and divorce mediation are two types of alternative dispute resolutions, and both are nonadversarial. In a collaborative divorce, attorneys sign a “no-court” agreement, which states that they must withdraw if the case goes to court. In mediation, one person – the mediator – walks you and your spouse through the divorce resolution process.

  1. Participants

In a collaborative divorce process, several people come to the table to discuss the concerns of you and your spouse. Attorneys experienced in collaborative law engage in a team approach to come to a peaceful resolution. You and your attorney may want a financial coach or mental health expert involved.

With mediation, an attorney is not necessary. The result depends on the ability of you and your spouse working together to reach an agreement. A mediator acts as an objective third-party who conveys information in a way to help you find common ground.

  1. Cost

Although both types of ADR are less expensive than a traditional divorce, the collaborative route may cost more. You will need to pay your attorney and any other individuals you want involved in the process. The attorney may require a retainer in addition to an hourly rate.

For mediation, you may only need to pay the mediator, unless you have an attorney. The final cost could depend on several factors, such as the experience of the mediator, the issues involved and whether the mediation is “public” – court-mandated – or private. In the end, collaborative and mediation could cost the same.

Both divorce resolution procedures require a final agreement signed by you and your spouse. You will have to attend a hearing in front of a judge who will sign the paperwork.