Collaborative Divorce: Seeing the forest through the trees (Part 3)

In the final blog of this 3 part series, I’d like to go over the differences between a collaborative divorce and mediation. In mediation, there is one neutral professional who is there to help both parties settle the dispute. Mediation can be difficult for the Tampa family lawyer mediating the dispute when there is not a level playing field between the two parties. The mediator is strongly prohibited from giving either party legal advice. he cannot help either side advocate their position. If one side or the other is not able to be reasoned with, or does not have the necessary skills to negotiate, or becomes emotionally distraught, the mediation can become unbalanced. If the mediator tries to deal with the problem, he may be seen as biased towards one or another party, however, if he does not deal with the problem the entire mediation process breaks down, whether or not the mediator was or was not biased. The agreement that results may even be unfair. If there are lawyers for either party at all, they may not be present at the mediation, or their advice may be too late to be of help to their client.

Collaborative law was designed to address these issues in process. It maintains the absolute driving commitment to settlement while helping level the field to achieve a fair agreement regardless of other issues with the participants. The ABA (American Bar Association) says, “each side has legal advice and advocacy built in at all times during the process.” [1] Even if one side or the other lacks the skills necessary to negotiate, or has emotional issues, the playing field is leveled by the direct participation of a top divorce attorney. The Tampa family lawyer must work with his client if the client is being unreasonable, to make sure that the collaborative divorce process stays positive and productive.

If you are considering a divorce, consult with a lawyer who has experience in collaborative divorce, mediation, and traditional adversarial divorce so you can receive insight on which type of divorce may be right for you. Seek out Tampa divorce attorneys with the knowledge you need. Seek out S. David Anton of Anton Legal Group!

David Anton is a third generation Tampa Bay attorney who has handled all aspects of dissolution actions since 1985.