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What is the difference between mediation and collaborative law?

In most cases, there is no need for a couple to go to court when getting divorced or separating, or dealing with any other family dispute. It is usually in everyone’s interests to sort things out through discussion and negotiation, avoiding the time, expense and stress of court proceedings.

Using non-confrontational methods of dispute resolution is particularly popular for divorce, especially where there are children to consider. Minimising the conflict involved in a separation can significantly reduce any potential for distress to your children and allow you to maintain a better relationship with your ex, making it easier for you to effectively parent your children together.

There are two main methods used for resolving family disputes outside of a court – mediation and collaborative law. Both have their advantages and are likely to be appropriate under different circumstances. Each method gives you the support of experienced legal professionals to keep the process on track and both are aimed at minimising conflict and achieving a mutually acceptable outcome.

How mediation works

Mediation involves you and your spouse meeting with a trained, neutral mediator to discuss the issues you are in dispute over, such as how to split your finances or arrangements for your children during a divorce. They will encourage you to air your concerns, listen to each other and reach an agreement that serves everyone’s interests.

It is common to have around three mediation sessions to agree the details of a divorce, although exactly how many sessions you need will depend on you and your situation. While any agreements you reach through mediation will be voluntary, they can be made legally binding with a consent order from a court. This includes financial settlements, maintenance agreements and arrangements for children.

If you are getting divorced, a family court will normally require you to consider mediation before taking your divorce through the courts. You will usually need to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) to see if mediation could be right for you before being allowed to apply to a family court for them to handle your divorce.

How collaborative law works

Collaborative law involves both people in a dispute sitting down to negotiate a solution, each accompanied by their own lawyer trained in collaborative law. Both parties and their lawyers sign a binding agreement at the outset, committing them to the collaborative process. This means that neither lawyer can represent their client if the divorce later goes to court, ensuring everyone is fully committed to achieving a positive outcome during the negotiations.

Collaborative law may be worth considering if there are complex issues to sort out, meaning having a trained lawyer on hand to advise and guide you is an advantage. This can also give you peace of mind that nothing you agree to will be compromising your interests, allowing you to have complete confidence in the process.

Crisp & Co’s divorce solicitors in London and the South East have many years of experience helping people to get divorced quickly, cost-effectively and with minimal conflict. Our sensitive but practical approach, focused on non-confrontational methods, makes getting divorced as straightforward as possible.

Talk to our expert divorce lawyers now by calling 020 3797 4952 or use the enquiry form below and we will get back to you promptly.

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