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Collaborative Mediation

Collaborative Mediation is an efficient and economic alternative to traditional Collaborative Law processes. DFMS offers Collaborative Mediation through our DFMS Team in the desert cities surrounding Palm Springs.

In the traditional collaborative divorce or collaborative family law case a full team of collaborative professionals is used. This consists of two lawyers (one for each party), two divorce coaches (one for each party), and one neutral financial expert (and sometimes other experts where for instance businesses need to be valued, or there are developmental or special needs issues relating to children). This model can be very appropriate depending upon a particular family's history and the issues involved, as when people wish to avoid traditional adversarial divorce litigation but nonetheless one or both party needs a devoted legal advocate to help oversee and protect their interests to be with them at all times. In traditional collaborative processes the lawyers are not neutral, but they have been trained to help the parties to find their best mutual solutions. In high conflict, large asset cases it may be the perfect match to your circumstances. For more information about using a traditional collaborative approach to divorce and family law matters, please visit us at Desert Collaborative Divorce (DCD).

For other couples it may be more than is needed or can be afforded, and so there exists an alternate approach we call "Collaborative Mediation". This is truncated in terms of the number of professionals utilized. Instead of two collaboratively trained lawyers we use one collaboratively trained mediator, who does not act as a lawyer or advocate for either person. This saves considerable money for both parties. Nothing precludes either from seeking outside legal advice as their needs and comfort requires (something we never discourage), but those outside lawyers do not participate in the process itself. In comparison, with straight mediation lawyers sometimes do attend the mediation sessions and often they do not.

Borrowing from the collaborative model, in Collaborative Mediation we also use one or two divorce coaches and when economically justified a neutral financial expert. At DFMS Attorney Thurman Arnold and M.F.T. Karen Horwitz have been trained in the collaborative model, in addition to their substantial mediation training.

Collaborative Mediation looks a lot like Co-Mediation. The difference is that Co-Mediation involves two neutral professionals who are trained mediators who work with both parties simultaneously and only during the mediation sessions, while in Collaborative Mediation typically there is one legal expert acting as Mediator, but each side is also assisted by a same gendered divorce coach who participates in the sessions but is available outside the sessions as well. The job of divorce coaches is to support their individual client through the process whenever issues or conflicts pop up. This can be a very effective tool for dialing down crises that erupt from day to day to week to week, and works well when parenting conflicts keep arising or there are non-child high conflict aspects to the end of the parties' relationship. It is also helpful in cases where mental health issues exist.

The beauty of Mediation and Collaborative Processes is that they are flexible and specific to each couple: We help you to fashion a conflict resolution strategy that best addresses your needs and those of your family members. We don't want to box you into a model that doesn't fit your situation, and so at DFMS and DCD we offer you a menu of choices. We explain these options further at our Orientation Meeting.

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