In the traditional litigation approach, both clients retain attorneys whose focus is to prepare a picture of “reality” which will result in the best decision for their client by a judge. Often, this method includes denigrating the other party or his/her perception of reality. Trial is often compared to a battle, in which one side “wins” and one side “loses”. In some circumstances, litigation is the only option. For example, if the other party consistently hides information or is abusive, the formal procedures utilized in litigation may be the tools necessary to obtain an acceptable solution.
In mediation, a neutral professional assists the clients settle the dispute. Generally, the clients agree that all information will be shared and that they are seeking a “win-win” solution. The mediator does not represent either party and the clients do not go to court. Typically, the mediation does not include attorneys except in a consulting or reviewing capacity. Mediation can work well for clients who have the ability to communicate their needs directly to the other person and who are sophisticated enough to understand the financial and legal information being provided.
Collaborative Law is a private, confidential, non-court and non-adversarial process. Each spouse has the assistance and support of professional advisers and counselors who cannot take the case to court. As in Mediation, the clients and attorneys commit to an open information gathering process and a commitment to settle without going to court.