What is the difference between mediation and collaborative divorce in Alberta?
Both mediation and collaborative divorce are forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution, or ADR, which means that they are methods of resolving conflict without going to court. Family mediation enables spouses to negotiate a solution to the disputes arising from their divorce or separation with the help of a neutral third party, or mediator. Collaborative divorce enables the spouses to work together towards a settlement that benefits the entire family with the help of lawyers trained in collaborative processes.
Allow our Edmonton divorce lawyers to help you determine what is the difference between mediation and collaborative divorce in Alberta and which one is best for you.
How does family mediation work?
The mediator meets with the spouses together and acts as a facilitator as they attempt to negotiate a solution to whatever conflicts they are facing. Family mediation can be used to resolve any disputes arising from separation and divorce, no matter how broad or specific they may be. Often there are documents that must be produced and property evaluations that must be obtained before the parties can reach a final agreement. Several mediation sessions may be necessary and the process may take several weeks or months.
Participation is voluntary and either party can back out at any time. The exact process and timetable can be determined by you and your spouse so that it works for your family.
The mediator is not there to provide either you or your spouse with legal advice. Your own lawyer can attend a family mediation session with you or can meet with you separately to answer any questions you have, depending on your preferences.
How does collaborative divorce work?
In the collaborative divorce process, both spouses agree that they and their lawyers will refrain from commencing litigation or making threats about litigation. The spouses also agree to produce all relevant documents. Collaborative divorce lawyers use interest-based negotiation techniques to help the spouses reach a settlement rather than more traditional adversarial negotiation techniques. These techniques promote cooperation between the spouses and encourage a better working relationship going forward, which is particularly important when the spouses have children together.
Collaborative divorce lawyers typically work closely with financial specialists, such as accountants who specialize in the separation of family assets, tax considerations for divorcing spouses and the logistics of dividing a family business. One advantage of collaborative divorce is that you and your spouse can split the cost of a financial specialist rather than each retaining your own.
Your collaborative divorce process may also include the use of a mental health professional, who can help you and your spouse get through the process with a cooperative mindset and avoid the antagonism that often plagues a traditional divorce or separation.
If at any point you or your spouse decide not to continue with the collaborative divorce process, you both need to find a new lawyer. Your collaborative divorce lawyer is not able to represent you in court.
Which one is best for you? Contact our Edmonton Family Lawyers Today
Either family mediation or collaborative divorce can be used to resolve any issues arising from your divorce or separation. Which method is best for you may come down to which process appeals to you or your spouse.
For more information on the difference between mediation and collaborative divorce in Alberta, contact our Edmonton family lawyers today and book a consultation with our legal team.
Disclaimer: Please note the content in this article is not intended to act as legal advice. For more specific legal advice please consult with a family lawyer.