Mediation or Collaboration: Which Approach Is Better?

For some divorcing couples, Collaboration works best. For some couples, Mediation is a much better fit. Only you have the insight into your relationship to allow the right option to become clear. While you may be eager to find best choice for you and your spouse, the best approach might ultimately weigh the pros and cons of each process to make sure you are thoroughly informed about which path is right for you.

Scenarios in which opting for Collaborative probably makes more sense:

  • You want to work closely with an attorney. For instance, maybe you just want someone in your corner the whole time; or maybe the case involves complex financial or child related issues that you would like help managing.
  • There have been power imbalances in your relationship. For instance, maybe you worry that your spouse will dominate the proceedings and you won’t get to speak your mind or address issues that are important to you.
  • You want a more structured process where the support is “baked in”. The Collaborative process is designed to be a more structured process than mediation. The lawyers will help move the process along and you will likely receive more guidance in and outside the joint sessions than you will in mediation.

Scenarios in which opting for mediation probably makes more sense:

  • You want an informal process. In Collaborative, the interdisciplinary team must follow certain protocols and rules to keep the process orderly. Mediation can be more flexible; at its sparest, it only requires three people — you, the mediator and your spouse.
  • You want the process to be easy to coordinate and schedule. Logistically, it’s easier to sync up schedules with a few parties than it is to coordinate an entire Collaborative team.
  • You want maximum privacy. Confidentiality laws protect what goes on during mediation. Collaboration is also a private process, but the joint conversational sessions feel less absolutely private because there are more people in the room.

Each process has its own advantages, but these pros and cons only become really clear when applied to your life and your relationship. The choice between Mediation and Collaboration is not about which is ultimately the better path to settlement. Rather, it’s about which is better for you.

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