Comparing Mediation vs. Collaborative Divorce in South Carolina

If you are considering divorce in South Carolina or already involved in a pending case, you might be aware that there are ways to resolve the important issues without court. In fact, many parties are able to agree on property division, alimony, and issues related to minor children. This might seem surprising when you think about emotions in divorce, until you learn the reason spouses are able to compromise: They took advantage of mediation or the collaborative divorce process. With both proceedings, parties get help from their attorneys and trained professionals to reach an agreement on divorce topics.

Still, though mediation and collaborative law share in some of the advantages they can deliver, the processes are different. One option may be more suited to your situation, and neither of these proceedings would be appropriate in certain cases. You should discuss details with a Charleston County mediation and collaborative divorce lawyer, but it is useful to compare the basics on these alternatives.

Basics About Mediation and Collaborative Law:

Both processes aim to avoid court for divorce-related disputes, with a goal to get the parties to agree – thereby eliminating the dispute. Some additional information can help you understand the differences:

  • Mediation: You may be required to participate in mediation by rule of the South Carolina Judicial Branch, but the proceeding is not in a courtroom. The parties will sit down with a mediator who is specially trained to help them overcome conflict. The mediator can often get a meeting of the minds by encouraging productive conversation between the parties.
  • Collaborative Divorce: With this option, all divorce issues are discussed, negotiated, and resolved by the parties and their attorneys. The process takes place over a series of meetings, and the details about how it works are contained in the collaborative law agreement. Because of the highly involved role they play, lawyers are required to withdraw from the case if collaborative divorce is unsuccessful.

Benefits of Resolving Disputes Out of Court:

Though the specifics of the process are distinct, the advantages of handling divorce via mediation or collaborative law are similar. Consider the following:

  • You are not bound by South Carolina laws on divorce, so the parties can develop creative solutions and have more control over the process.
  • Parties gain certainty as compared to court, because they create the outcome with mediation or collaborative law.
  • A contested hearing involves significant preparation, as it is similar to a trial with presentation of evidence and witnesses. Legal fees and time to resolution are both reduced.
  • Parents often find custody and visitation issues easier to manage when they came up with the arrangement by agreement, rather than forced by court order.

Our South Carolina Mediation and Collaborative Divorce Attorney Will Advise You

It is challenging to determine whether these options are a good fit, so trust the Peck Law Firm to help with strategy. To learn more about our legal services, please call 843.631.7117 or go online to schedule a no-cost consultation. We can meet with you via Zoom or at our offices in Charleston, Mount Pleasant, or Summerville, SC.

Recommendations For Additional Reading

How to Encourage Your Spouse To Mediate Your Divorce
Five Mistakes to Avoid When Going Through South Carolina Divorce
Top Reasons to Get Divorced