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Divorce mediation, collaboration or litigation - What's the difference

Regardless of the circumstances surrounding an Alberta couple's divorce, and how amicable is, it will always be a stressful and emotional process. This applies in particular if they do it through the court, where the judge will end up making important decisions that will affect the post-divorce lives of all concerned parties. Alternative dispute resolution might be worth exploring. Options such as divorce mediation or collaboration allows couples to negotiate their own settlements that would protect their interests and be workable and fair, both now and in the long term.

A divorce mediator facilitates mediation as a neutral third party whose role is purely to provide a platform that would put the divorcing couple in the driver's seat to negotiate all contentious issues with the goal of reaching a settlement agreement. The mediator may encourage communication and suggest compromise and solutions to challenging issues, but he or she may not provide legal counsel. However, each party may have his or her lawyer either present during mediation, or on standby to provide support and guidance.

Another option involves a collaborative team made up of the two divorcing spouses with their respective lawyers and divorce coaches along with a financial adviser and child specialist, if applicable. The team collaborates to find resolutions for all issues. At the beginning of the process, the parties and their respective attorneys must sign an agreement to confirm their commitment to reach a settlement agreement. If one party gives up on the process, the entire team will be released, and the couple will need to retain new counsel if they choose to head to court.

It would only be natural for any person to have many unanswered questions at such a difficult time when various decisions must be made. The logical step will be to discuss all the divorce options with an experienced Alberta divorce lawyer. He or she can explain the pros and cons of each process so that the client can make informed choices when considering divorce mediation, collaboration or litigation.

Source:, "Mediation, Collaboration Or Divorce Court -- Which One Is Right For YOU?", Katherine Miller, Accessed on June 23, 2017

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