What’s the Difference Between Collaborative Divorce & Mediation?
If you’re involved in a divorce, you’ve probably heard the terms “collaborative divorce” and “mediation.” While both involve voluntarily settling a case outside of the traditional courtroom setting, they’re actually quite different.
Collaborative Divorce is a process for handling a divorce outside of the court system. Both parties are represented by independent attorneys who are collaboratively trained and part of a “team” that works toward a resolution focused on needs and interests. The Team consists of the attorneys, the clients, a neutral facilitator, and a neutral financial professional. The collaborative process requires the parties to be transparent with their financial books and records and requires the parties to focus on options for settlement, rather than “winning”. The collaborative process is private and confidential and takes place outside of the court system. If there are children involved, parties agree to focus on the needs of the children rather than their own needs. Other professionals may be brought into the team, if needed, such as guardians ad litem and child specialists. The collaborative process is a voluntary process agreed to by the parties. It may be terminated at any time by either party. If the parties elect to end the collaborative process before a settlement is reached, they must obtain new attorneys to represent them.
Mediation, on the other hand, involves working with a neutral third party (the mediator), who guides negotiations with the goal of reaching a mutually agreeable settlement. Unlike a judge, who maintains control over the proceedings, a mediator can’t decide the outcome, and instead simply facilitates the settlement discussions. In Florida, family law cases are referred to mediation before they can proceed to trial.
Collaborative Divorce & Mediation in the Tampa Bay Area
If you’re in the Tampa Bay area and you’re interested in pursuing either collaborative divorce or mediation, turn to the Law Offices of Audrey A. Jefferis, P.A. Contact us today to set up a consultation at our main office in New Port Richey or at our satellite office in Palm Harbor.