Differences Between Mediation and Collaborative Divorce

IL divorce lawyerCouples that want to get a divorce but that always want to avoid the lengthy and costly process of going through litigation will often turn to alternative dispute resolution methods, such as collaborative divorce or mediation. Both methods are extremely effective and can help the parties maintain a respectful relationship, which is important, particularly if there are children involved. However, there are differences between these two dispute resolution methods, and couples that are interested in them should know what they are.


Mediation and collaborative divorce are both less expensive than going through litigation. Of the two, collaborative divorces typically cost a little more than mediation. In a collaborative divorce, both parties are always represented by attorneys, and this is not always the case for couples going through mediation. If the attorneys cannot agree on a certain aspect of the case, such as the value of a business, they may bring experts in, which will increase the costs of a collaborative divorce.

Mediated divorces are typically less expensive, with sessions costing approximately $100 to $200 an hour. The two parties also do not have to hire an attorney, although it is strongly recommended that anyone going through a divorce is represented by legal counsel.

Settlement Rules

One element that is very unique to collaborative divorce is the rule regarding a settlement. The goal of both mediation and collaboration is for the two parties to agree to a settlement, without the interference of the court. If no settlement is reached during mediation, the couple will simply find a different route. However, if the parties cannot reach an agreement during a collaborative divorce, the attorneys involved must withdraw from the case and each spouse will need to obtain new counsel. In the event that this happens, it can add to the cost of a collaborative divorce.

Power Struggles

During mediation, the mediator will often ask the couple to speak directly to each other, regardless of whether their attorneys are present or not. This allows each side to tell their side of the story. If there is an imbalance of power between the couple, this is difficult. For example, if a husband was abusive to the wife during the marriage, the wife may not feel comfortable speaking up for herself during mediation sessions.

This situation would never come up in a collaborative divorce, because the attorneys mainly discuss factors of the divorce amongst themselves, and act as a buffer between the two spouses. Having an attorney present during mediation meetings can help minimize any power struggles, but they are still more likely to crop up than in a collaborative divorce.

Our Illinois Family Law Attorneys Can Advise on Your Case

Today in Illinois, there is more than one way to get a divorce and you may have questions regarding which one is right for you. If you are thinking about getting a divorce, our experienced Hinsdale family law attorneys at the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio are here to help. We can advise on the facts of your case, including which dispute resolution method is right for you, and we will always work in your best interests to secure the settlement you deserve. Call us today at 630-920-8855 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.




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