The purpose of mediation, collaborative law, and cooperative divorce law is to guide divorcing parties through the dissolution process in a way that enables them to reach an out of court settlement.
All three methods aim to minimize the length, cost, and frustration that are commonly attributed to the divorce legal system. They have the same goal, but they go about it differently. This blog post will explain how each works and how they differ from one another.
Mediation is where a divorcing couple negotiates the terms of their divorce in the presence of a neutral and impartial third-person – a mediator. The mediator assists the parties by directing their conversations in a way that allows them to put their best foot forward.
Divorcing parties who seek an out of court settlement must persuade one another to accept settlement terms that the other party does not want to accept. This involves compromise; and compromise involves salesmanship.
In order to be persuasive, each party must be at his or her best. This is difficult because divorce is a time when both parties are emotionally overloaded and are likely to be at their worst.
The mediator acts like a control tower, and directs the parties’ conversations away from confrontation and toward open-mindedness and acceptance.
If the couple is able to reach a mutually acceptable marital settlement agreement in mediation, they are urged to hire their own lawyers to review the settlement terms. Typically, at least one of the parties engages the services of an attorney to shepherd the divorce through the legal system.
Collaborative Law and Cooperative Divorce Law
Collaborative Law and Cooperative Divorce Law operate along the same lines, but both parties have attorneys who are present during the actual settlement discussions. The attorneys commit to attempt to create and maintain an atmosphere of sensibility that will promote settlement.
Collaborative and cooperative divorce attorneys have mediation or comparable communication skills training, and employ similar peace-keeping techniques as are used in mediation. The vast majority of the work that the attorneys do is in the presence of the clients at settlement meetings.
The attorneys pledge to use their energies to help the parties achieve a sensible, out of court settlement, and they orchestrate the emotional flow and tone of the discussions accordingly.
If the parties are not able to reach a settlement, cooperative law attorneys may go on to represent their clients in the court system. Collaborative divorce lawyers, on the other hand, are barred from litigating on behalf of their clients. The clients must hire new attorneys to represent them in court.
Many divorce lawyers are mediators, cooperative divorce practitioners, and collaborative lawyers, but can only serve in one of these roles with any given client. The choice of which method to use is determined by the needs and circumstances of the divorcing couple.