Collaborative Divorce vs. Divorce Mediation


If you are interested in filing for divorce in California but do not want to endure court litigation, there are two alternatives: collaborative divorce and divorce mediation. Both approaches to divorce can help divorcing couples resolve their differences in an amicable and respectful manner without going to court. 

Divorce Mediation 

Divorce mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process guided by a neutral third party (i.e., the divorce mediator). The mediator is responsible for helping both parties identify the divorce-related issues (e.g., property division, child custody, child support, spousal support, etc.) that need to be addressed, encourage open communication between the spouses, provide options to help create a mutual agreement that suits both parties’ needs, draft a final agreement to submit to the court. 

The following are the benefits of mediation: 

  • Flexible scheduling 

  • More affordable compared to litigation 

  • Faster compared to litigation 

  • Confidential 

  • Low conflict 

  • Cooperation 

The couple is responsible for only hiring one mediator. Although each spouse may hire their own attorney, they are not required to do so. 

Collaborative Divorce 

Commonly called the “collaborative law process,” collaborative divorce is essentially a hybrid of a traditional divorce involving attorneys and divorce mediation. Each party hires its own collaborative divorce attorney to represent them during a series of “four-way” meetings. 

Spouses and their attorneys sign a “no court” agreement, which means if the collaboration process is unsuccessful, then the lawyers must withdraw from the case. In order to succeed in a collaborative divorce, both parties must agree to every divorce-related issue. 

Additionally, attorneys may recommend involving other professionals. Common outside professionals include mental health professionals, child specialists, or financial professionals.  

In comparison to divorce mediation, collaborative divorce and mediation may take longer to complete, which means it is more costly in the end. While mediators help their clients come up with their own solutions, collaborative lawyers provide advice and often tell their clients what to do. 

If you are interested in filing for a divorce in Irvine or within Orange County, call The Neshanian Law Firm, Inc at (949) 577-7935 or fill out our online contact form today to request a free 15-minute phone consultation. Attorney Amy Neshanian is a Certified Family Law Specialist by The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. 

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