The Differences Between Amicable and Collaborative Divorces
By: Megan Mason
An amicable divorce can entail agreement on such things as, but not restricted to, child custody, visitation, alimony, spousal support, property division, and other divorce terms. Once agreement has been reached on key divorce issues, the couple will file divorce legal forms in local family court to actually receive the divorce. This process is referred to as an amicable divorce. A neutral third-party individual will serve as the mediator.
The spouse requesting the divorce will hire a divorce mediator. The divorce mediation is somewhat like a session of court. The lawyer for both parties will meet with the mediator and present their case. At this meeting both sides may offer some suggestions to the other party. Each meeting that the divorce mediation takes place, both your lawyer and your spouse’s lawyer will try to gather as much information from the other party as possible.
One of the biggest differences between a traditional divorce and an amicable divorce is the level of involvement that each party has in the process. With a traditional divorce the roles of the attorney and the client are reversed. In most cases, the lawyer representing one spouse will hire the other spouse’s attorney to represent themselves.
Because the roles are reversed, it is important that both parties have some input during mediation. Most people find a traditional divorce process to be tedious, time consuming, expensive, and difficult to follow. Divorce mediation offers spouse’s a fast, low cost, and usually convenient alternative to going through a lengthy litigation process. As well as saving the cost of a long litigation process, mediation offers spouses a quicker exit from their relationship. Both lawyers must face a judge and jury and this can take years to accomplish.
In an amicable divorce mediators work with both parties to reach an agreement about the children and any other issues. The process allows both spouses the ability to make decisions about their own property and debts without the intervention of a judge. Some of the services that divorce mediators offer include: Child custody and visitation rights, Child support or alimony, division of marital property, division of debts, division of other financial assets (like cars and homes), and alternative dispute resolution. Mediation can be extremely helpful for spouses who find it difficult to communicate, cooperate, or maintain good listening skills. It also can be very helpful for those spouses who feel stuck in a bad relationship and who need an outside source to help them figure out what to do.
When couples decide to use collaborative divorce instead of an amicable divorce, they must first select a collaborative divorce mediator. Collaborative divorce mediators work with couples to come up with an amicable divorce agreement that both parties can live with. However, there is a difference between collaborative divorce and amicable divorce in that collaborative agreements often include a pre-nuptial agreement, which outlines all of the specifics of the agreement before it is signed by both spouses. Amicable agreements usually only include information about child custody and visitation rights; they do not include details about any other assets that the ex-spouse may have, and they do not include any information about any prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement(s).
There are a number of different types of divorces that couples can choose from. Divorce mediation is one type of divorce that couples use if they want to end their divorce negotiations in a relatively peaceful manner. This process involves a licensed divorce mediator working with couples to create an amicable agreement regarding the division of assets, property, and any other concerns that may arise during the divorce proceedings. Many people who use this process feel that it is a much better alternative to the lengthy and expensive process of going through the courts, especially if they do not wish to go to trial. Divorce mediation tends to be much less costly for the parties as well, so even if a couple chooses not to proceed with a mediated divorce, they may still be able to settle their differences amicably.
Another type of mediation that some couples choose is collaborative divorce, in which both parties reach an agreement regarding all of the relevant issues in a divorce. This type of mediation often includes parenting plans, custody agreements, and child custody directives, although this is not always the case. In a collaborative divorce, the parties simply meet with a neutral third-party individual, like a family law attorney, to discuss all of the relevant issues in the divorce and come to an agreement on how the marriage should be settled. Many courts allow divorce mediation to be used in conjunction with traditional trials, although many also encourage the use of amicable settlement negotiations.