The Development Of Collaborative Law In New Jersey: Good News Or Bad News For Divorce Mediators?

What Is Collaborative Law?

Collaborative law is an emerging dispute resolution technique in which each party retains a lawyer, but the lawyers pledge not to resort to the courts (or threaten to do so) to resolve issues. If the collaborative technique is unsuccessful, the lawyers must withdraw, and the parties start over through litigation.

How Does Collaborative Law Differ From Divorce Mediation?

Because each party to a collaborative divorce is represented by a lawyer who guides the client through the negotiations, the power imbalances and communication problems that might impede a divorce mediation are neutralized. Each party’s lawyer is present through the collaborative process, which may include services of other professionals such as therapists and financial consultants. The result often addresses the couple’s needs more comprehensively and creatively, and provides them with guidance to begin the next phase of their lives. It offers the best long-term results to couples who, though divorcing, will likely remain connected in many ways.

Now, The Good News For Mediators:

Professional mediators and collaborative law practitioners share similar goals and training, recognizing that the cost of the “scorched earth” approach to divorce litigation stretches far beyond time and money, and that, even for the “winning” party, a litigious divorce comes at a very high financial and emotional cost. With the emergence of collaborative law and its impact on the traditional divorce mediation practice, a collaborative law practice may be a natural “next step” for the divorce mediator.: