“Collaborative” Mediation helps divorcing and separating couples resolve their issues in ways that work for them - without the court's intervention and often without attorneys.

The Collaborative mediation process typically takes place over several short sessions, usually two to three hours in duration.  Most mediation sessions are conducted with both parties present, although there may be brief private meetings or caucuses.  Parties may mediate without retaining attorneys, although if they have previously retained counsel, their attorneys may attend the mediation sessions, but generally do not.  If the attorneys are not present, the parties make only tentative agreements subject to attorney review.

The first session generally occurs early on and within an informal atmosphere, in order to establish a spirit of cooperation, diminish stress, and set the stage for productive discussions.  The mediator facilitates communications between the parties, helping them explore and expand their options.  The parties are then encouraged to focus on negotiating a meaningful outcome to them rather than strictly focusing on how the court would likely rule. The emphasis of mediation is on the interests and needs of the participants rather than on their positions. 

The early use of collaborative mediation can provide an effective means of resolving critical issues before they become unmanageable. The mediator, working together with the parties, devises an agenda reflecting the issues to address, and a cooperative exchange of the information relevant to those issues then takes place. This can be a cost-effective and efficient alternative to conventional family law practices.

Collaborative mediation with its emphasis on direct, real-time negotiation is a very efficient and effective means of negotiating issues such as parenting plans and property settlements, both of which contain many details.  Furthermore, interactive dialogue between the parties, with the guidance and facilitation of the mediator, allows for the creation of parenting plans and financial settlements truly tailored to the needs and interests of the parties and their children.

Face-to-face mediation also offers a better process for handling the emotional issues that are often present in the process of divorce.  These emotional issues may be the most important issues to the clients and their children. Collaborative mediation allows the parties to safely negotiate these issues as they emerge, and come up with solutions that address their needs. For example, parties can negotiate rules around contact and privacy that are specifically related to their emotional situation. This approach is significantly less damaging to post-divorce family relations than the traditional one-size-fits-all court orders.

The ultimate goal for mediating parties is that upon conclusion, they feel as though the agreement reached is truly a collaborative effort and generally beneficial to everyone.

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L. Brooks Baldwin              Attorney/Mediator     


Collaborative Divorce & Mediation Services

(206) 307-2472

Copyright:  2017, Baldwin Collaborative Law, PLLC, all rights reserved.