Mediation Versus Collaboration: Which Is Right for Your Divorce?

There are many options that you can choose when working towards a divorce. An important question that you and your spouse will need to decide is whether or not an uncontested divorce is something you can work towards. In an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse agree that you would like to reach decisions about each of the important aspects of your divorce without taking the issues to court. If you have decided on this, then you can anticipate a less expensive, quicker, and hopefully less stressful divorce process than if you needed to have your case decided by a family court judge. If you have agreed to work towards an uncontested divorce, you must then decide which way you will handle this process. Whether you decide on mediation or collaboration, I am available to help you with all of your Florida divorce law issues. Schedule an initial consultation today so you can begin the process immediately.

WHAT IS MEDIATION?

If you and your spouse opt to participate in mediation for your uncontested divorce, you and your attorney will work with a neutral third party called a mediator to establish terms of the divorce agreement that both parties will accept. This is an affordable option for your divorce, and it can ultimately lead to a more amicable and agreeable divorce for both of you.

WHO CAN MEDIATE OUR DIVORCE?

There are many private mediators, most of whom are legal professionals with extensive experience with Florida divorce law, available to help you through this process, and the selection of a mediator is a decision that should be made with counsel of your family law attorney. Your family lawyer will be able to provide input on the various mediators in the Miami area, their unique style of mediating, and whether or not your attorney believes that a particular mediator is appropriate in your unique scenario. Either way, your mediator does not represent you or your spouse, they will work with both of you to reach a divorce agreement that is fair and that both you and your spouse will accept.

HOW LONG DOES MEDIATION TAKE?

There is not a deadline on participating in mediation since it depends entirely on how flexible you and your spouse are with each issue that needs to be resolved. That said, it is generally a much faster option than a contested hearing because you are able to set the mediation at a time that conforms to the schedules of all parties instead of relying on attending mandatory court dates. Moreover, If you and your spouse come to the mediation table having already agreed on a variety of issues, then you can save a lot of time.

HOW MUCH DOES MEDIATION COST?

The cost of your mediation will be directly related to the amount of time that it takes. Knowing this, it is a good idea to work through every issue that you can with your spouse before working with a mediator. Once you have come to a point where you are struggling to come to an agreement about the remaining issues in a civil manner, it is a good time to contact a mediator to guide you through the rest.

WHAT IS COLLABORATION?

Collaboration is a different option for an uncontested divorce. In it, you and your spouse will each have your own attorney who will help you negotiate the terms of your divorce. It is different from mediation because the other parties are there in the best interests of their clients instead of a neutral third party trying to find common ground. You will each use your lawyers to negotiate the terms of the divorce in a collaborative way, instead of leaving the decisions up to a family court.

HOW LONG DOES A COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE TAKE?

Much like a mediated divorce, the length of your collaborative divorce depends entirely on the agreements you and your spouse have already made, and how much you still need to work through. Depending on how much or how little you have determined and how amenable to each negotiation you and your spouse are, this process could be very smooth, or somewhat complicated.

HOW MUCH DOES A COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE COST?

A collaborative divorce will be more expensive, starting with the fact that there will be two lawyers present and you will not be dividing the costs of a single mediator with your spouse. In addition, the length of time that the collaborative divorce takes is directly related to how much your final cost will be. If there are a lot of details that need to be worked through that take a lot of time, the cost will go up.

SHOULD I OPT FOR MEDIATION OR COLLABORATION?

Although there is no way we can fully answer that question for you in this document, there are a few things to consider when asking yourself this question:

  • How willing are you and your spouse to work together without lawyers?
  • How much do you already agree on?
  • How complicated is the divorce?

There are many more questions that will lead you towards one decision or another. Contact my office today to schedule an initial consultation, and we can discuss your situation and explore options for either a mediated or collaborative divorce. I look forward to helping you with these questions and to working with you as you go through the divorce process.