Divorce By Collaboration or Mediation – Know the Difference

It has long been held that about 50 percent of marriages in the U.S. end in divorce, but that assertion is really not accurate. That figure is based on some mathematical projections made back in the 1970s when the divorce rate seemed to be growing rapidly, and it does not conform to the real divorce rate in the early 21st century.

In reality, it appears that the actual divorce rate today is around 39 percent. While that figure is much better than the old 50 percent projection, it still means that a significant number of couples eventually decide to end their marriages.

For those couples wishing to avoid the gut-wrenching experience of divorce litigation, divorce through collaboration or mediation can be an alternative. In this blog we will explain the difference between mediation and a collaborative law divorce, beginning with mediation.

Divorce Through Mediation

In a mediated divorce, an unbiased third-party individual works with a couple to attempt to arrive at an amicable divorce settlement. Through mediation sessions, the mediator attempts to reach an agreement on matters related to questions like child custody, child support, alimony, the division of property, and other matters related to the ending of a marriage.

A mediator does not have to be an attorney, but family law attorneys often act as mediators. At the law firm of Crosby & Crosby, our attorneys have extensive experience serving as mediators for couples wishing to avoid going through the litigation process to end their marriage.

Divorce Through Collaboration

Since the passage of the Illinois Collaborative Process Act of 2018, many divorcing couples in the state have chosen this method for ending their marriages.

Explained briefly, collaborative divorce is a dispute-resolution process through which couples, assisted by their attorneys, work to arrive at a fair and equitable settlement without going into court.

In divorce through collaboration, the emphasis is on constructive problem-solving, based on both their individual and shared values, rather than through contentious, adversarial bargaining and court imposed conditions.

In this process, the couple agree to a Collaborative Agreement, a legally binding document obligating both parties to engage in the collaborative process. The agreement also places limits on the attorneys involved in the divorce. As an example, if the collaborative process is unsuccessful, the attorneys must withdraw from the case.

Reasons to Choose a Collaborative Divorce

There are at least a couple of reasons why a couple would choose this option to end their divorce.

  • A collaborative divorce is a way of limiting the cost of the divorce.
  • Collaborative divorce tends to be far less stressful than a traditional divorce. By mutually agreeing that it is best to end a marriage, and by taking a proactive and non-adversarial approach in dealing with the questions related to the divorce, couples are often able to amicably resolve matters related to the divorce.

Finally, in a collaborative divorce process, both parties must agree to all terms of the divorce settlement. If agreement proves impossible, as we have said, both attorneys must withdraw from the case, and the contending parties must find another way of ending their marriage.

Attorneys Experienced in Mediation and Collaborative Law

If you are considering either of these alternatives in ending your marriage, we urge you to contact the family law attorneys at Crosby & Crosby for expert legal advice. The attorneys in our firm have extensive experience in alternative dispute resolution through both mediation and collaborative law, and we would be glad to explore these options with you.

We offer a free, no-obligation initial consultation, and we urge you to call us today at (815) 367-6432 to schedule an appointment.