To begin this comparison, you’ll first need to know the descriptions of mediation and a collaborative divorce.

Mediation is often a cooperative method that couples choose who believe they can resolve their differences with the help of only one other individual, a mediator. The mediator can be a trained attorney, but many skilled mediators are not attorneys. If you are willing to peacefully work through your issues and effectively compromise without the presence of attorneys, mediation may be right for you.

Collaborative divorce is a more regulated process. Each spouse chooses their divorce attorney to represent their respective interests. Both parties and their attorneys then sign an agreement agreeing to cooperative methods, rather than manipulative or aggressive techniques to achieve favorable outcomes — a mediator and other outside professionals that specialize in the issues discussed are also present during a collaborative divorce.

So, which is right for you? The following statements could help you come to a decision.

Consider divorce mediation if:

  • You completely trust your spouse and believe he/she is operating transparently and in good faith
  • You’re looking for the fairest result for everyone involved
  • You are keeping your child’s best interests at heart
  • You want your divorce proceedings to move quickly
  • You want open and real-time communication between you and your spouse
  • You wish to save money by not paying for your own advocate/advisor

Consider a collaborative divorce if:

  • Mediation, due to a myriad of issues or an uncooperative spouse, is not an option, but you still wish to avoid litigation
  • You want an advocate (your divorce attorney) to represent and advise you along the way 
  • You would like specialized professionals present to provide their insight on your disagreements

If you’re looking for professional advice, consider speaking to a family law attorney.