Collaborative Law versus Mediation

Both Collaborative law and mediation offer the client a better alternative to protracted and costly court proceedings.

Whereas collaborative law has provided a new direction in terms of appropriate dispute resolution (ADR) the process has obvious cost implications where two lawyers are involved as opposed to two mediators. This has the effect of increasing legal costs by a certain amount.

However, where compared as an alternative to contested legal proceedings the cost savings are substantial.

Furthermore, for some couples it is not possible to sit face-to-face toresolve a mediated understanding. Mediation can be conducted with both parties in separate rooms whereby the mediator travels between the two separate rooms until such time as an agreement is reached. For some separating couples the prospect of sitting at a table together can be too much. The collaborative law process is largely focused on keeping both parties together for the majority of the discussions.

If the collaborative process is not fruitful the parties will lose the representation of their respective solicitors who must withdraw from the process if it does not succeed. By virtue of the agreement signed by the parties at the start of collaborative law process, they must now instruct new solicitors where the previous process has failed. This vehicle was incorporated into the collaborative process to place a clear incentive in the negotiations for the respective lawyers to obtain a settlement for the clients where possible and practicable. The benefits of colaborative law over the standard litigation model are immense.

The end of the relationship can be a particularly traumatic event for both the separating couple and their immediate families. Accordingly, it is important that the correct decisions are made at a very early stage to ensure that the separation does not descend into all-out fighting. Family mediation gives the parties the freedom to control their own destiny in a positive and caring environment.

Under the law judges are restrained in terms of the types of decision that they can make under the family law legislation. Parties working with a mediator have unlimited opportunities and possibilities at their disposal to allow them to reach a mediated agreement.

Mediation allows the separating couple the option of completing their own divorce or DIY divorce. Family Mediation Ireland recommends that even where parties have reached their own clear terms of agreement they should obtain legal advice on this agreement before making the agreement legally binding by a deed of separation or court order.

An agreement concluded through the collaborative law process or the mediation process will be much more effective and beneficial for the parties involved and their families.