It is healthier for everyone in your family if you can work out issues such as property division in your divorce in a non-adversarial way. There are several methods of alternative dispute resolution available to help you accomplish this.
Two of the most common methods of ADR are mediation and collaborative practice. Though alike in some ways, there are some significant differences between the two.
According to SF Gate, mediation takes place through a series of meetings overseen by a mediator. The job of the mediator is to help you and your spouse communicate productively with one another. The mediator does not make decisions as a judge or arbitrator would. Rather, he or she helps you and your spouse to come to your own agreement.
Some of the meetings may take place with all parties present. However, both you and your spouse may also meet with the mediator in private. In this instance, the mediator may literally act as a go-between, relaying information between you and your spouse.
Like mediation, the collaborative practice involves meetings outside the courtroom between you and your spouse. There is no mediator in collaborative practice, but you and your spouse must both hire an attorney familiar with the process to represent you. You may also seek the help of counselors and financial experts to advise you.
According to the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, collaborative practice is different in that each party signs an agreement at the beginning to negotiate in good faith. This includes both you and your spouse, plus your respective attorneys. The agreement states that if the process fails and you have to litigate, both you and your spouse will have to find new representation.
Knowing the differences between mediation and collaborative practice can help you and your spouse decide which is better for you. Each has a high success rate.