Negotiation, which involves individuals discussing their issues with the help of their attorneys, and mediation, which involves the assistance of a third party, are the most common types of alternative dispute resolution. In some cases, elements of mediation are confidential in contrast public court proceedings. While some people might prefer this, others might be uncomfortable with this secrecy.
Mediation can be helpful in some family law cases because it addresses the emotional issues that a court does not. The goal of mediation is to reach an agreement that makes both individuals comfortable while resolving their legal issues. Agreements made using negotiation or mediation are then usually written and submitted to a judge for approval.
There are a number of other reasons that individuals may prefer a collaborative law approach to litigation. For parents, this process might leave them in a better position to co-parent in the years ahead since one of the aims of collaborative law is conflict resolution. With the assistance of their attorneys and other parties involved in the process, they may be able to reach an agreement on property division and child custody. If they went to court instead, a judge would divide property equitably and make a child custody decision that is in the best interests of the child, but there may be no recourse if the individuals are dissatisfied with the decision.