COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE - FAQ


What’s the difference between collaborative and traditional divorce?
While the result (divorce) is the same in both cases, the process as well as the emotional and financial impact may vary significantly.

Collaborative Divorce

  • Agreement reached through face-to-face discussions between the spouses and lawyers
  • The parties (both spouses and lawyers) pledge in writing not to go to court
  • Approach is respectful with focus on problem solving and mutual agreement

Traditional Divorce

  • Lawyers directly negotiate terms of divorce on behalf of spouses
  • Judge imposes decision in court if lawyers can’t reach agreement
  • Approach is often adversarial, more costly, and time-consuming than collaborative divorce

 

How much does collaborative divorce cost?
I charge an hourly rate after the initial consultation. Four-way team meetings are usually scheduled in three-hour time periods and the number of meetings required depends on your individual situation. The overall cost is also affected by whether or not other collaborative professionals (e.g., divorce coaches, child specialists) are involved. Collaborative divorce is usually less expensive than litigation.

 

What if my spouse wants to take me to court?
Collaborative divorce is a voluntary process. If either spouse wants to go to court, they must submit written notice to the other spouse and both spouses have to find new lawyers to represent them in court.


DIVORCE MEDIATION - FAQ


What’s the difference between mediation and collaborative divorce?
Mediation and Collaborative Divorce are both cooperative processes aimed at resolving issues outside of court.

Mediation

  • Spouses retain lawyers for outside counsel before, during, or after mediation
  • Terms of divorce negotiated directly between spouses and mediator during private mediation sessions
  • Mediator does not take sides or advocate for either spouse
  • The process is tailored to meet the unique needs of the clients
  • Usually faster, more flexible, and less costly than collaborative divorce.

Collaborative Divorce

  • Spouses retain their own collaborative lawyers to advocate on their behalf
  • Terms of divorce negotiated during four-way, face-to-face meetings with spouses and lawyers
  • Lawyers share goal of collaborating to reach resolution but each represent their own client
  • May be preferred if either spouse is unsure about negotiating for themselves
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What’s the difference between mediation and traditional divorce?

Mediation

  • Spouses meet face-to-face to negotiate agreement with help of mediator
  • Mediator does not take sides or advocate for either spouse
  • Process emphasizes cooperation, productive communication, and focuses on the future
  • All discussions are private and confidential
  • Usually faster and less expensive than traditional divorce

Traditional Divorce

  • Lawyers negotiate terms of divorce directly on behalf of clients
  • Judge imposes decision in court if lawyers can’t reach agreement
  • Process often combative, focused on the past
  • All documents filed in court are public record

 

Do I still need a lawyer if I choose mediation?
You are required to retain a lawyer to advise you of your legal rights, review the Memorandum of Understanding created in the mediation process, and convert this agreement into a legal contract. Beyond that, you can consult with a lawyer as little or as much as you want at any point in the mediation process.

 

How do I prepare for mediation?
Once you decide to engage in mediation, I will email you a form to complete prior to our first individual meeting. In addition to factual information, this form asks you to contemplate your goals for mediation, goals you think your spouse may have, and specific issues that need resolution (e.g., parenting plan).

I will also give you a list of financial documents and other information to collect prior to the first mediation session. By preparing in this way, you will help the entire mediation process proceed more efficiently.

 

Is mediation appropriate if my spouse and I have a lot of conflict?
Mediation works for amicable couples as well as those enmeshed in conflict. A skilled mediator will facilitate focused, constructive dialogue regardless of the level of emotion and conflict. That said, for mediation to be successful, each spouse must come with an open mind and willingness to reach mutually agreeable solutions. If either party is unwilling or incapable of negotiating respectfully on their own behalf, collaborative divorce may be a better option.

 

How much does mediation cost?
I charge an hourly rate for my time spent in the mediation. The number of meetings required is different for each couple. The average is 10 hours, but complex issues may take more time. I also charge for the time to prepare your agreement (approx. 2-4 hours). I do not charge for phone calls or email messages.

 

What happens if we can’t reach an agreement in mediation?
In the unlikely event that an agreement cannot be reached, you have the option to pursue collaborative divorce or litigation. I cannot represent either spouse if you choose to abandon the mediation process.

 

What if my spouse wants to take me to court after we begin mediation?
Prior to starting the mediation, both spouses sign an agreement stating they will not make threats to go to court. However, mediation is voluntary and either spouse can terminate the mediation process at any time. If either spouse wants to terminate the process, they must provide written notice to the other spouse and the mediator. Discussions that occurred or agreements made in mediation cannot be used in court and the mediator cannot be called as a witness.