How do mediation and collaborative law differ?

Those who are facing a divorce or other legal problem related to family law will rather quickly figure out how expensive the process can be, even when the person and his or her attorney are doing their best to be efficient.

Furthermore, the toll family law disputes emotionally and in terms of time and legwork can make the process seem overwhelming.

Sometimes, despite the hardship, going through traditional family law litigation is the best option. Although litigation does involve filing pleadings, doing discovery, and either negotiating or arguing in front of a California state court, the process is not always acrimonious.

Still, in some circumstances, a form of alternative dispute resolution may work better for an Oakland resident and his or her family:

Mediation is an option that is popular with many California courts

Mediation is one type of alternative process. It has gotten so popular that many courts in this state will now order a couple to give it try before they resort to a court hearing.

During the mediation process, an attorney or other expert in family law, called a mediator, will work with those involved in the dispute in an effort to help them negotiate their disputes.

As such, the mediator is not deciding winners and losers but is there to help a couple come up with their own solution to their differences.

The process is confidential, so if the parties cannot reach an agreement, then they are free to go on with litigation without having to worry about compromising their cases.

Collaborative law is another way Bay Area residents can resolve their cases

Unlike mediation, a collaborative law divorce involves only the couple and their attorneys. They all agree to a free and open exchange of information and may also agree to use the same financial professionals, counselors and the like.

The goal of all sides is to come up with a fair divorce settlement that works best for all of those involved.

In this respect, collaborative divorce is a lot like mediation; however, the collaborative divorce can be ongoing for weeks or even months depending on a couple’s situation.

Another important feature of collaborative divorce is that if the process fails, each side will have to hire a new attorney to go through traditional litigation.