Family mediation and collaborative law - the differences

 

 

If you think that either family mediation or collaborative law might be the right way to resolve your family law problems, how do you choose between them and what exactly are the differences?

In a handy table we set out below the crucial differences between using a family mediator and collaborative lawyer.

 

Mediation

Collaborative law

Is commitment from both parties required?

 

Yes

Yes

Time commitment

It’s over when it’s over, but it usually is over in under five sessions.

A final settlement is reached on average within half a dozen meetings.  It can be a rapid process.

Voluntary?

Yes

Yes

What are the incentives to make the approach succeed?

·      Avoiding the expensive and adversarial court process.

·      Avoiding a further deterioration in the relationship.

·      Obtaining a fair outcome in a timely and cost effective way.

·      An opportunity to discuss issues and negotiate in an open and honest way without an adversarial court process taking decisions out of the hands of the parties.

·      Avoiding the apportioning of blame.

·      Avoiding having to replace current legal representatives should the collaborative law approach fail.

·      Avoiding having to go to court unable to use disclosures made during the collaborative law meetings if the collaborative law process fails.

·      Avoiding the adversarial court process

·      Avoiding a further deterioration in the relationship or the apportioning of blame.

 

Is legal advice available at the meetings?

No.  The parties’ solicitors are not present and even if the mediator is also a trained family law solicitor they will not be able to offer more than neutral general legal advice.  The parties would need to see their solicitors outside of the mediation sessions for more detailed advice and this can slow the process down.

 

Yes.  The parties are accompanied by their solicitors to all the collaborative law meetings and their presence makes the process both effective and fair to both parties.  However all advice should be offered to clients with a view to advancing the collaborative process.  If this is not the case the process could fail.

How much will it cost?

Usually a course of family mediation will cost on average under £5000, split between both parties, plus financial assistance might also be available.

The cost of a series of collaborative law meetings can be comparable to the cost of having the settlement decided in court (but avoiding the emotion anguish that the court process might provoke)

 

Would anything disqualify me from attempting this approach?

·      Yes.  Evidence of one partner having abused the other (or the children), physically, psychologically, sexually or financially.

·      One party not wanting to take part in the process.

·      Yes.  Evidence of one partner having abused the other (or the children), physically, psychologically, sexually or financially.

·      One party not wanting to take part in the process.

Need help with family mediation or collaborative law? Call our experts

Our expert family law team will quickly be able to determine whether or not your case is suitable for family mediation or collaborative law – and we can help you if you live in Wiltshire, Hampshire, or Dorset.

Simply call us today on one of our local numbers

SALISBURY [01722] 422300

AMESBURY [01980] 622992

ANDOVER [01264] 364433            

• FREEPHONE 0800 1404544

• OR e-mail our team using the email contact form below

Comments or questions are welcome.

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