Choosing Between Divorce Mediation and Collaborative Divorce in Pennsylvania

by Robert M. Diorio

Individuals entering into divorce may rely on the courts to make decisions on their settlement issues. However, many couples choose to retain control over their futures by negotiating settlements out of court. While it sometimes may not seem possible to come to agreement on issues pertaining to the children, property division and alimony, an experienced family law attorney can use a number of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods to facilitate negotiations. Two common options are divorce mediation and collaborative divorce.

How collaborative divorce works

Collaborative divorce is a highly structured process that requires a high degree of commitment from both parties in the divorce. This method requires couples to enter into a series of meetings with specially trained attorneys and professionals who specialize in appropriate areas, such as child psychology and finance to help iron out the details needed to settle all issues.

A Uniform Collaborative Law Act is active in several states with a goal of fully formalizing the process across the United States. However, the law has very specific requirements that can make collaborative divorce attractive under certain circumstances, but inappropriate in others, such as the following:

  • Both parties must retain attorneys specifically trained in collaborative law.
  • Both parties must reach full agreement on all divorce issues.
  • If couples fail to reach full agreement, they must start negotiations again using different lawyers.

No guarantees exist for the success of this process. However, a consultation with an experienced collaborative attorney can help determine if collaborative divorce makes sense for you.

Divorce mediation offers more flexible options

In mediated divorce, both parties typically enter into negotiations with their attorneys, but a neutral mediator facilitates discussions to keep them on track and productive. As with collaborative divorce, the goal of mediation is to resolve all settlement issues. However, if the parties reach agreement on some — but not all — issues, they can take the unresolved issues before a judge. This flexibility can make divorce mediation an appropriate choice for many individuals who want to negotiate an out-of-court divorce settlement.

Contact an experienced Pennsylvania family law firm to help you negotiate a fair divorce settlement

A Delaware County family law attorney at the firm of DiOrio & Sereni, LLP brings decades of experience helping clients find creative solutions to help clients attain fair divorce settlements through negotiation. Call our Media, Pennsylvania office for a consultation.

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The Law Firm of DiOrio & Sereni, LLP, is located in Media, PA and serves clients in and around Media, Glen Riddle Lima, Brookhaven, Wallingford, Newtown Square, Lenni, Springfield, Swarthmore, Chester, Aston, Bryn Mawr, Morton, Woodlyn, Broomall, Gradyville, Folsom, Chester Heights, Crum Lynne, Glen Mills, Marcus Hook, Ridley Park, Drexel Hill, Marple, Bethel, Garnet Valley, Chadds Ford Concord, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County.

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