Mediation and Collaborative Practice:
How They Differ From Litigation

Mediation and Collaborative Practice are two of the most popular non-adversarial paths open to people who would like to reach agreement about anything important to them.  They are popular for many good reasons.

If you are getting separated or divorced, Mediation and Collaborative Practice are available to help you find agreement on everything that needs to be decided, or that you may want to be decided, including:

  • The terms of your separation, What will happen to the shared home,
  • How will each of you be okay financially
  • Whether spousal support (alimony) be paid; if so, by whom, in what amounts, and over what period of time,
  • Whether child support be paid, if so, by whom, in what amounts, and over what period of time;
  • How accumulated assets and debts, and future assets such as defined-benefit pensions or loans repaid to you, will be allocated between you.

Mediation and Collaborative Practice have much more in common with each other than either path has in common with litigation. Litigation is an adversarial process that takes place in the court system. Mediation and Collaborative Practice are private and occur entirely or almost entirely outside the court system.  Litigation is presided over by a judge and tends to further alienate the participants from each other and often has unhealthy effects on children.  In litigation of a divorce, a judge decides any issues you haven’t agreed on outside of court.  In mediation and Collaborative Practice, in contrast, you have the opportunity to create your own outcomes — outcomes that meets the needs of everyone involved.  Litigation is almost always much more expensive than Mediation or Collaboration.

Litigation is rarely the best path for people in conflict, so I no longer offer representation in contested litigation.  I have concentrated my practice in mediation and legal representation in negotiation, whether in the Collaborative Practice model or the traditional model.

Read for more about mediation and legal representation, including Collaborative Practice.