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Divorce Mediation v. Collaborative Law: What’s the Difference?


There is no “right way” to end a marriage. The process can be painful and challenging both practically and emotionally. However, there are options you can pursue to lessen the blow.

Mediation and collaborative divorce are both great options when you’re looking to settle your case and avoid some of the animosity traditionally associated with divorce. The best part is that both options will also save you time and money.

Let’s examine both in greater detail to point out similarities and differences so you can make an informed decision of how to proceed with your Naperville divorce lawyer.

What is Mediation?

In mediation, you’ll work with a neutral third-party. This third-party is your mediator and is often an attorney, though it won’t be your attorney or your spouse’s attorney.

During the process, your mediator will work with both you and your spouse to identify issues, educate you regarding how the court will view these issues, and find an agreement that both you and your spouse find agreeable.

What is Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative divorce is like mediation, however both you and your spouse will work with each other and your respective attorneys to work out issues outside of court.

In collaborative divorce, you’ll sign a “participation agreement” that sets forth the guidelines you must follow during the process. Then, you’ll meet with your spouse, his or her attorney, and your attorney in a series of meetings to resolve issues in the case. Sometimes, professionals such as accountants, therapists, and others may be brought in as necessary to help resolve contentious issues.

If this process fails, you must get rid of your attorneys and turn to traditional litigation to resolve your case.

Compare and Contrast: Mediation v. Collaborative Divorce

There are several differences between mediation and collaborative divorce you should take note of if you’re trying to decide how to proceed with your case. Here are some of the most important differences:

  • Professionals – In mediation you’ll work with one professional whereas in collaborative divorce both you and your spouse will have a Naperville divorce lawyer.
  • Neutrality – Mediators are neutral third parties whereas attorneys in collaborative divorce are hired to specifically represent your interests.
  • Authority – Mediators don’t prescribe binding legal decisions and give advice whereas attorneys typically make decisions on your behalf.
  • Timeframe – Mediated divorces can take as little as two months to complete and are often complete within six months. Collaborative divorces can take longer and often take between eight months and one year to complete.
  • Cost – Mediated divorces are by far the least expensive option though collaborative divorces are still significantly less expensive than traditional, litigated divorces.

Discuss Your Options by Contacting Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. Today!

If you’re interested in pursuing an alternative to traditional divorce, Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. can help! With over 35 years of experience in divorce and family law, our focus on alternative divorce methods makes us your ideal resource for mediation or collaborative divorce as well.

Learn more about your options by contacting Larry at 630-470-9990 or by requesting your free 30-minute consultation using our simple online form. We look forward to speaking with you and discussing your options in greater detail.

Concentrated on Family Law

Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. is a law firm concentrating solely on family law and has served clients in DuPage, Will, Kane, and Kendall counties for over 35 years.

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About Attorney Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd.

Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. is a law firm concentrating solely on family law and has served clients in DuPage, Will, Kane, and Kendall counties for over 35 years.

We continue to work with clients in Naperville, Wheaton, Lisle, Oswego, Downers Grove, and the surrounding areas to provide one-on-one support and attention that will help you through this difficult time.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at any time. We look forward to offering our expertise and support to you throughout your case and after.