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Supporting Families in Collaborative Divorces

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Introduction to Collaborative Mediation
Collaborative Mediation is the new kid on the block of divorce process options. It combines the best of collaborative law with the best of mediation. For the right couple, the integration can be more satisfying and more effective than either process alone.

Like collaborative law, Collaborative Mediation uses a team approach. By using a team, couples receive specialized support and information to help them make important decisions that will lay a foundation for moving forward with their lives. Teams are chosen to best suit the needs of the family.

Unlike collaborative law where joint meetings are conducted by the spouses' collaborative lawyers, in collaborative mediation an impartial attorney-mediator guides the couple through legal decisions. The mediator educates about the law without providing legal advice or taking sides. Working with two mediators - one male and one female - is also an option.

Team Members
Coach. In cases where emotions are tender or communication is a challenge, the mediator co-conducts meetings with a coach. Coaches have mental health degrees and specialized divorce training. The combination of legal, emotional and communication support at every meeting can be a successful combination and often puts couples more at ease than other process options.

Child Specialist. When children (of any age) need emotional support and a voice in the process, or when difficult parental decisions need to be made, a child specialist joins the team. The advent of the child specialist in all collaborative options is one of the most significant advancements in divorcing. No longer are we picking the "best" or "worst" parent, but creating the best plan for the children with everyone taking a caring and nurturing approach.

Financial Analyst. If future finances such as budgets, support and retirement planning are a concern, a Certified Divorce Financial Analysts (CDFA) is a valuable team member. In more complex matters, pension, appraisal, vocational or other experts are consulted.

When Mediation Is Not the Best Fit
Collaborative Mediation is not a good option for someone who needs or wants a confidant and legal advice at every meeting, or for someone who is intimidated by his or her spouse. If that's the case for you or your spouse, you should choose collaborative law or traditional representation. Collaborative Mediation is best when each spouse feels they can speak for themselves, and make decisions for themselves once they receive the information and education needed to make informed choices.

Where Lawyers Fit In
In Collaborative Mediation clients are not required to have legal counsel, but can if they wish. Individual attorneys can counsel clients outside of mediation sessions developing options, giving legal advise, reviewing agreements, and generally helping clients bring their ideas and concerns to the mediation table in an amicable way. If particularly difficult issues arise, lawyers may be invited to a mediation session.

Collaborative Mediation utilizes collaboratively trained lawyers. Couples choose whether or not the collaborative lawyers will sign a participation agreement limiting their representation to supporting collaborative negotiations, or whether the lawyers will continue representation though litigation should mediation reach impasse.

In summary, Collaborative Mediation, is an attractive new process option that primarily utilizes an impartial attorney-mediator rather than 2 attorneys to facilitate negotiations. It can be the right choice for couples who want to support each other in moving toward positive individual lives with their emotional and financial stability intact. Meet our Collaborative Mediation Professionals.