Mediation & Collaborative Law
Mediation and collaborative law are methods of alternative dispute resolution used in settling family law disputes such as divorce, child support, child custody and the division and preservation of assets.
Mediation takes the interaction between spouses out of the adversarial atmosphere of a courtroom, usually is less expensive than arbitration or litigation and, in many cases, can be completed in one day.
While similar to arbitration, mediation is conducted in a less-formal setting and does not have the binding attributes often associated with arbitration. The mediation process is not obligated to follow arbitration rules or legal procedures and provides more latitude for suggesting and formulating solutions. The role of the mediator is not to decide facts and make rulings but rather to help parties communicate and ease the process of working out their differences. The mediator invites discussion, encourages both parties to air their views and, in general, opens up communication. Parties may focus on issues they believe are important and tailor their settlement to suit their needs, which is often not the case when a judge oversees a proceeding.
Collaborative law is another solution-oriented approach that is an alternative to arbitration, mediation and courtroom litigation. Collaborative law focuses on creating an environment in which couples cooperate to reach decisions that benefit the whole family. Experts support spouses in the collaborative law process and assist them in expressing their views. Through the guidance of their attorneys and possibly other financial and counseling professionals, constructive suggestions are made and thoughtful consideration is taken to arrive at fair and reasonable settlements.
A couple’s ability to communicate and cooperate is often restored as a side benefit from concentrating on common goals and agreements on domestic issues. In this respect, a collaborative law approach can offer an additional advantage for problems requiring resolution later.
If at any point during the collaborative law process a spouse decides to pursue another approach to divorce, such as mediation, arbitration or traditional courtroom litigation, he or she may do so. However, both sides must obtain new legal representation.
We invite you to call (877) 889-4515 to arrange a no-charge consultation with one of our attorneys at Kathryn L. Harry & Associates to determine whether mediation or collaborative law would benefit you in resolving your family law issues.