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Mediation vs. Collaborative Divorce: Is There a Difference? 

Posted on September 22, 2021 in Family Law Blog

lombard divorce lawyerIf you are getting divorced but the thought of spending hours in court negotiating with your spouse makes you queasy, there are other options. In fact, only a small percentage of Illinois divorces are actually litigated in court because the alternatives to litigation have so many advantages. 

This article looks at the two primary alternatives to divorce litigation: mediation and collaborative divorce. Although they are similar, mediation and collaborative divorce are not the same, and it is important to understand their differences, so you know whether one of these options is right for you. 

What is Mediation? 

In an Illinois divorce, mediation is a negotiation process involving two spouses and an impartial third-party mediator. Mediators are trained professionals who can guide spouses through negotiations about important issues such as the division of marital property, parenting time, and spousal support.  Mediators are skilled in conflict resolution and can help spouses keep hostility to a minimum. Although each spouse usually still has an attorney, the attorneys are not a part of the mediation process. 

Mediation is a great option for many people because it allows them to negotiate a divorce order that meets everyone’s priorities. Although neither spouse is likely to get everything they want, the outcome is generally viewed more favorably by both parties than when a judge is involved and has to make decisions on behalf of a feuding couple. 

What is a Collaborative Divorce? 

Like mediation, collaborative divorce is designed to allow spouses to negotiate their preferred divorce terms outside of court. However, rather than having an impartial third party mediating the discussion, each spouse retains their own attorney who works collaboratively with the other spouse’s attorney and other professionals involved in the divorce. 

Collaborative divorce often involves other professionals who may or may not be present for each meeting. For example, a child psychologist may be present for most of the meetings related to parenting time and parental responsibilities but will not come to meetings about property division, where an asset valuation specialist may come instead. 

If the collaborative divorce process fails, each spouse’s attorney withdraws, and spouses must start the same process (or a different one) over again with new attorneys. Collaborative divorce can be a great way for spouses who can divorce amicably to save time and money; however, if the collaborative process fails, spouses may have incurred substantial fees and have little to show for it. 

Work with a Lombard, IL Divorce Attorney

There are several approaches when it comes to divorce, and the right approach for you will depend on your unique circumstances. An experienced DuPage County divorce attorney with A. Traub & Associates can help you create a divorce strategy and will advocate passionately on your behalf for a favorable outcome. Contact us today at 630-426-0196 to schedule a confidential consultation. 



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