How are decisions reached in mediation or collaborative law?

both mediation and collaborative law, decisions are reached through a cooperative and non-adversarial process. While they share similarities, there are some differences in how decisions are reached in each approach.


In mediation, a neutral third party, known as the mediator, facilitates the negotiation process between the parties involved. The mediator does not make decisions or impose solutions but instead helps the parties communicate effectively and explore possible options for resolution.

The mediation process typically involves the following steps


The mediator explains the mediation process, establishes ground rules, and ensures that all parties understand their roles and responsibilities.

Information gathering

Each party has an opportunity to present their perspective and share relevant information. The mediator may ask questions to clarify any issues or concerns.

Problem identification

The mediator helps the parties identify the key issues that need to be addressed and ensures that all parties have a clear understanding of the underlying interests and needs.

Generating options

The mediator assists the parties in brainstorming and exploring various options for resolution. This may involve considering different alternatives and evaluating the potential consequences of each option.


The parties engage in direct negotiations, facilitated by the mediator. The mediator helps maintain a constructive and respectful atmosphere, ensuring that all parties have an opportunity to express their views and concerns.


If the parties are able to reach a mutually acceptable agreement, the mediator helps them formalize the agreement in writing. The agreement is typically non-binding until it is reviewed and approved by each party’s legal counsel.

Collaborative Law

In collaborative law, each party is represented by their own attorney, and all parties commit to resolving the dispute outside of court. The collaborative process emphasizes open communication, transparency, and a problem-solving approach.

The collaborative law process typically involves the following steps

Initial meetings

The parties and their attorneys meet to discuss the collaborative process, clarify expectations, and sign a participation agreement. This agreement outlines the commitment to resolve the dispute collaboratively and sets forth the rules and guidelines for the process.

Information gathering

Each party provides relevant information and documents to their attorney, who then shares this information with the other party. This ensures transparency and allows for a comprehensive understanding of the issues at hand.

Joint meetings

The parties and their attorneys engage in a series of joint meetings to identify and discuss the key issues. These meetings may involve brainstorming, exploring options, and negotiating potential solutions.

Expert involvement

If necessary, the parties may engage neutral experts, such as financial advisors or child specialists, to provide guidance and expertise on specific issues.


Once the parties have reached a mutually acceptable agreement, the attorneys help formalize the agreement in writing. The agreement is typically binding and enforceable, as it is intended to be a final resolution of the dispute.