With all the talk going on right now about collaborative law and mediation, it was great to see my fellow family law blogger, Oklahoma Family Law Blog publish his recent post on the topic. There is a clear difference between the two methods. And this post will help explain the two.
In mediation, there is one 'neutral' who helps the disputing parties try to settle their case. The mediator cannot give either party legal advice, and cannot help either side advocate its position. If one side or the other becomes unreasonable or stubborn, or lacks negotiating skill, or is emotionally distraught, the mediation can become unbalanced, and if the mediator tries to deal with the problem, the mediator is often seen by one side or the other as biased, whether or not that is so. If the mediator does not find a way to deal with the problem, the mediation can break down, or the agreement that results can be unfair. If there are attorneys for the parties at all, they may not be present at the negotiation and their advice may come too late to be helpful.
Collaborative Law was designed to deal more effectively with all these problems, while maintaining the same absolute commitment to settlement as the sole agenda. Each side has quality legal advice and advocacy built in at all times during the process. Even if one side or the other lacks negotiating skill or financial understanding, or is emotionally upset or angry, the playing field is leveled by the presence of the skilled advocates. It is the job of the lawyers to work with their own clients if the clients are being unreasonable, to make sure that the process stays positive and productive.
Source for Post: Oklahoma Family Law Blog.