Photo of Kenneth L. Gibson Jr.
Photo of Kenneth L. Gibson Jr.
Photo of Kenneth L. Gibson Jr.

Mediation vs. collaboration: What’s the difference?

On Behalf of | Apr 30, 2019 | collaborative law | 0 comments

If you and your spouse have begun thinking about obtaining a Kentucky divorce, neither of you likely looks forward to a long drawn out court battle. Not only do such acrimonious divorces cause stress, anger and upset for both of you, they also negatively impact your children.

Perhaps you have heard about mediation and collaboration, today’s two types of far more cooperative divorces, and wonder how they differ from each other and which option would best serve your needs. Greenbush Financial reports that while similar in nature, mediation and collaboration represent two separate processes with a few major differences.

First difference

A mediated divorce requires no lawyers. Instead, you and your spouse hire a mediator, a neutral person who represents neither of you, but rather acts as your guide and facilitator as the two of you work out your own differences through negotiation, arriving at agreements with regard to such things as child custody, property division, etc. Each of you can hire a lawyer to sit in on these meetings if you wish, but most couples forego attorneys except to the extent they need one to reduce their agreements to writing and present them to the court.

A collaborative divorce, on the other hand, requires you and your spouse to each hire an attorney as your first step. Be aware, however, that neither attorney will view himself or herself as an adversary of the other. Nor will they view you and your spouse as combatants. Instead, all four of you will hold a series of meetings during which you and your spouse will attempt to settle your differences, much like you would have done had you chosen to mediate. But here, the attorneys not only guide you through the negotiation process, but also make sure that they represent the best interests of their respective client.

Second difference

The second big difference between mediation and collaboration is the way in which you and your spouse gather information. In mediation, each of you discloses information on a strictly voluntary basis, and the mediator cannot compel either of you to disclose anything. In a collaborative divorce, if you think your spouse has pertinent information that (s)he needs to share, but refuses to do so, your attorney can compel him or her to do so via the discovery process. For instance, your attorney can present your spouse’s attorney with such documents as interrogatories, requests for admissions, etc.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.


FindLaw Network
Photo of Kenneth L. Gibson Jr.