I receive a fair numer of calls from individuals looking for a lower cost, lower stress means of pursuing their divorce. Some people report that they want mediation, and describe for me what sounds like Collaborative or Cooperative divorce, and vice versa. Despite the sometimes confusion, one point is clear: people are looking for a better path to take that the traditional bitterly litigated divorce. While mediation is helpful, and favored by Illinois judges, Collaborative and Cooperative divorce practice presents some advantages
Mediation and collaborative practice are two very different practices, but they both have at heart the same sensibility: resolving difficult family disputes in a lower conflict manner. The Oklahoma Family Law Blog highlighted these practices in a recent post, on which I have summarized and commented further:
In mediation, there is one ‘neutral’ who helps the disputing parties try to settle their case. The mediator cannot give either party legal advice, and cannot help either side advocate its position. If one side or the other becomes unreasonable or stubborn, or lacks negotiating skill, or is emotionally distraught, the mediation can become unbalanced. A well trained mediator can try to help bring the parties back to the center, and facilitate resolution of disputes that the parties view as unresolvable. However, some mediations end without a resolution, and the parties return to court with no perceived options left but litigation.