Divorce mediation and collaborative law are both used to finalize cases outside of the courtroom in Texas. Although both of these methods of alternative dispute resolution allow the parties to create their own settlement agreement, there are significant differences between divorce mediation and collaborative law in Texas that may impact how a case is resolved.
During Texas divorce mediation, the parties usually meet with a single mediator to discuss their case. After obtaining an understanding of the parties’ positions, the mediator will go back and forth between each party in an attempt to help them reach middle ground in their dispute. The mediator will address each issue in the case until all have been settled. In collaborative law, the parties may choose to have a number of individuals present to help them resolve various issues. For example, for cases with contested custody issues, a child psychologist may be present. If a couple that is divorcing owns a business together, an accountant may attend the session. In this way, the parties are well informed as to how a particular settlement agreement may impact various parties of their lives.
Legal representation is also different in Texas divorce mediation and collaborative law. The same attorneys may represent the parties throughout mediation and any subsequent family court trials. However, in collaborative law, the attorneys who represent the parties during the collaborative session may not represent the parties at a later trial. This motivates the parties to try every possible route to settle their case during the session.
Both divorce mediation and collaborative law save the parties time and money that would have been spent in the family courts. In most cases, the parties are able to settle their cases months earlier than if they had gone to trial, with extra cash in their pockets.