Collaborative Divorce or Mediation: What’s the Difference?

Recently, I gave a short presentation on the collaborative divorce process and the benefits that this process provides when compared to a litigated divorce (i.e. court battle).

One of the attorneys in the room asked, “What is the difference between the collaborative divorce process and mediation?”

I think it’s a good question.  Below, I have put together a short list of the differences and the similarities found in the collaborative divorce process and mediation.


Differences Between Collaborative Divorce and Mediation:


  • Collaboratively Trained Divorce Counsel – The collaborative divorce process provides that each spouse will have their own collaboratively trained divorce attorney to represent their interests and helps to assure that both spouses are treated fairly under Florida divorce law.


  • Attorney Buy In – The collaborative divorce process provides for both attorneys to certify in writing at the outset of the divorce that they cannot represent either you or your spouse if you decide later to go to court to fight (i.e. litigation).


  • Settlement First – The collaborative divorce process starts with a series of settlement conferences to settle your divorce without litigation. Conversely, mediation generally does not occur until after your  attorney has already filed a divorce lawsuit and battled in court for six months or more.


  • Shared Neutral Professionals Save Money – The collaborative divorce process provides for your team to select a mental health professional and a financial professional. These neutral professionals work for you and your spouse to help you reach a fair settlement.  Conversely, in mediation, often times both you and your spouse will each hire separate experts and pay double the cost for this service.


  • Fixed Fees Save Money – The collaborative divorce process provides you with the opportunity to hire your attorney for a fixed fee. This assures that you and your attorney are both working towards efficiency and solutions to settle your divorce outside of court instead of fighting in court and incurring hourly fees.


Similarities in Collaborative Divorce and Mediation:


  • Dispute Resolution Process – Mediation and collaborative divorce both provide you with a method to resolve your divorce outside of court.


  • Control – Mediation and collaborative divorce both provide you with control over the outcome of your divorce and the ability to make your own decisions for your family and your finances, instead of a judge making these decisions for you.


  • Saves Time – Mediation and collaborative divorce both provide you with the ability to finalize your divorce and move on with your life much faster than going to court and waiting for judges and attorneys to move your case forward.


  • Saves Money – Mediation and collaborative divorce both provide you the opportunity to avoid a trial and deposition and never-ending hourly fees.


After litigating divorce cases in Palm Beach County for over 12 years, I decided that fighting in court was not my passion.  Instead, I focused my energy and my law practice on helping families navigate both the collaborative divorce process and the mediation process.

I have found that these alternative dispute resolution methods save spouses and their families a great deal of money, and it helps them to avoid the unnecessary emotional cost of fighting your spouse in court.

Going to court to battle your spouse should not be the first option in divorce.

There are trained legal professionals that help families resolve divorce cases with respect, privacy and professionalism every day.  This is the better solution, in my opinion.

If you, or a friend of yours, has questions about collaborative divorce in Palm Beach County, we are here to help.


By: Mindful Divorce P.A. [i]


[i] Chadwick M. Layton is a collaborative divorce attorney at Mindful Divorce, P.A. in Palm Beach County, FL.  Mr. Layton is also a member of the Palm Beach Association of Collaborative Professionals, International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, Florida Bar Family Law Section, the Susan B. Greenberg Family Law American Inn of Court of the Palm Beaches and the Palm Beach Flagler Rotary Club.


Mindful Divorce P.A.

205 Worth Ave.

Suite 303

Palm Beach, FL 33480

Phone (561) 537-8227

Office E-Mail:

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