MEDIATION AND COLLABORATIVE PRACTICE COMPARED
What is the difference between mediation and Collaborative Practice?
There is often confusion between these processes, perhaps because those who participate in mediation are presumed to be “collaborative.” The basic difference? In mediation, there are three people in the room: the spouses negotiate for themselves with a neutral third person, the mediator, guiding the process. In Collaborative Practice, there are four people in the room: each spouse is represented by a Collaborative Lawyer who assists in the negotiation—without a mediator.
Why pay two Collaborative Lawyers when you can just pay one mediator?
If you could know in advance that mediation would be a successful choice, you would choose it if for no other reason than it is likely to be less expensive than Collaborative Practice. The reason you might nevertheless choose Collaborative Practice is that, at the end of the day, the most economic process choice will be the one that is most appropriate for you and your spouse.
So what would make Collaborative Practice appropriate for you?
- You’re not comfortable negotiating for yourself during this vulnerable and tumultuous emotional time in your life.
- There is an imbalance of power between you and your spouse.
- You tend to be overly accommodating and need someone to help you guard against that.
- The issues or financial picture, may be sufficiently complex so that you do not feel that you really “know what you are doing.”
- For whatever reason, you feel you need a “conflict ally,” someone who will support and protect you without being adversarial with your spouse.
What would make mediation appropriate for you?
- You feel you can engage in negotiations with your spouse on a roughly equal basis.
- You have a good enough understanding of the finances.
- While you can consult with an attorney outside of the mediation process, you don’t expect to be particularly reliant upon that attorney to the point where you might as well have a Collaborative Lawyer in the same room with you.