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Mediated or collaborative divorce: What's the difference?

The options available to couples seeking a divorce in Connecticut are much broader than ever before. In one of our previous posts we examined a couple of reasons couples might consider pursuing divorce by mediated settlement.

Those with experience in this area of the law would broadly agree that the mediation process, in which a neutral third party helps the couple sort through the many details in crafting an acceptable dissolution settlement, can be less costly and disruptive to the family's routine. But mediation is only one of several alternatives to traditional divorce processes. Another is collaborative law.

What is the difference between the mediated and collaborative law methods? It might be easiest to describe it as the difference in cooperation the divorcing couple must exercise. Where litigation is adversarial, mediation requires the couple to be open to allowing the neutral third party to guide things along.

Collaborative law involves both parties working as a team to frame terms of a settlement. Like mediation, many experts hold the view that collaborative law offers a path to divorce that is quicker and cost effective. However, just as mediation is not suitable for every couple, the teamwork necessary for collaborative law requires a commitment to positively resolving issues – something not every couple can do when emotions might be running high.

Another thing that sets the collaborative law approach apart is that if either of the divorcing parties determines that it is not working, litigation is the fallback. However, in such a situation, the attorneys for both parties must step away from the case.

By consulting with experienced counsel, you can learn your options. By understanding those options, you can make an informed decision about how best to achieve the divorce outcome you seek.

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  • Wendy helped guide us through a very difficult and emotional process and was really able to provide an even and fair account for both parties. It's quite evident in her expertise in this area but the way she was able to make you feel safe and secure in a very insecure time goes far beyond her legal prowess. If the two parties are really willing to cooperate and collaborate, she's there to help gain the best possible solution for all involved, especially if there are children.
  • Regardless of how committed one is to the fact that divorce may be imminent and necessary, it is truly one of the most emotional and stressful situations one can experience. It can also be daunting. Wendy has a remarkable ability to cut through the noise and help you focus on the big picture while drilling down on what is most pertinent to your particular situation., they are a formidable team who work collectively with your best interests in mind.
  • Wendy and her staff were a delight to work with. During this difficult process I felt confident that the outcome would be fair and balanced, as it did. Very supportive, always well prepared and very knowledgeable. Would choose them all over again!
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