The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

Yorkville Office By Appointment

Initial Consultations via ZOOM Available

The Primary Differences Between Collaborative Law and Mediation

 Posted on September 06,2023 in Collaborative Law

Aurora, IL collaborative divorce lawyerConsidering mediation or collaborative law can be a way to resolve your family law dispute without going to court. Both mediation and collaborative law are alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes that can help you reach a mutually agreeable outcome. However, there are some key differences between the two processes.

When considering either mediation or collaborative law in Illinois, it is important to speak to an attorney. They can provide more information about the process and to see if it is the right decision for you.

A Basic Overview

In mediation, a neutral third party called a mediator helps you and your spouse communicate and negotiate a settlement. The mediator does not make any decisions for you, but they can help you to understand each other's needs and interests. The process usually lasts no more than one or two meetings but they can take anywhere from four to eight hours to complete.

Collaborative law is a more structured process that involves you, the other party, and your respective attorneys, along with the assistance of professionals like financial specialists or divorce advisors. The attorneys agree to refrain from going to court, and they work together to help you settle. Parties involved are unable to use or threaten to involve the court during the collaborative law process. Doing so would terminate the process and the lawyers will no longer be able to participate in the dispute.

Yet, if you are unable to reach a settlement, you may need to go to court.

Court Involvement

Some disputes are more amenable to mediation than others. For example, mediation may be a good option for disputes that involve financial issues, but it may not be a good option for disputes that involve high levels of conflict. Parties with a history of conflict may find that collaborative law is a better option.

At the onset of collaborative law, both parties agree to not go to court unless a settlement cannot be reached. This is called the “Four-Way Agreement” and is signed by both parties and their attorneys.

Mediation is still available if efforts to settle fail using collaborative law. Yet, if no agreement can be made through these other processes, then the parties may need to go to court.

Overall Costs

The cost of mediation can vary depending on the mediator, if attorneys are involved, and the complexity of the dispute. Collaborative law costs will also vary due to the complexity of the dispute. Of course, because it involves two attorneys plus a variety of other specialists, collaborative law typically carries the higher costs of the two.

Which Process is Right For You?

The best process for you will depend on your individual circumstances and preferences. If you are looking for a voluntary process that is less expensive than collaborative law, mediation may be a good option. For individuals looking for a more structured process that is more likely to lead to a settlement, collaborative law may be a better option for you.

Contact an Aurora, IL Collaborative Law Attorney

Family disputes end better when done amicably. That is why it is an important decision to employ the help of an experienced Kane County, IL collaborative law attorney. The The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. provides competitively-priced fees and a commitment to helping you resolve your family disputes effectively. Dial 630-409-8184 and make an appointment to discuss your options and get your life back on track.

Share this post:
The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
Back to Top