Many marriages end in divorce -- it is a fact of life. Though sometimes a divorce can be filled with a great deal of contention, there are those people who agree that a divorce is the best path forward and want the process to be as simple as possible. For those in California who find themselves in this category, there are other options besides fighting in court. One is divorce mediation and another is a collaborative divorce. They have similar aims, though there are differences between the two.
First, mediation is a process in which two divorcing spouses choose a third party who will assist them in negotiating a divorce agreement that is voluntary and mutually beneficial. The third party stays neutral and helps both people involved see all of the available options and determine what issues might arise. When the agreement is finalized, it is recognized by the court and both ex-spouses are legally-bound by its terms.
In a collaborative divorce, there are many more professionals involved, including attorneys, financial experts and even mental health professionals. Everyone works together to come to an agreement with the aim of honoring what is best for everyone involved, which includes any children from the marriage. This is different than more traditional divorce agreements, where it is determined what each party is legally entitled to retain or gain.
Experts warn that sometimes either of these approaches can still have conflict and that they won't work for everyone. However, for those here in California who can make use of divorce mediation or a collaborative divorce, it may be a way to minimize angry feelings. The most important thing is that everyone is able to move on and begin their new life and coming to a mutual agreement may be the best way to accomplish that goal.