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How is collaboration different from mediation?

You have probably heard about mediation being used in different family law situations in Ohio. It is a process that helps you work together with the other person to reach a resolution with minimal involvement from the court. There is another option that is similar to mediation called collaborative law. However, the two concepts differ in many ways. 

The Ohio Bar Association explains one of the big differences is that with collaborative law there is a solid agreement to avoid litigation.If you decide you need a judge's input in your collaborative law case, then the process ends. The attorneys withdraw, and you must start over with new representation. In a mediation, if you decide to go to court, you can keep whatever lawyer you may have and just move on with the process. 

In addition, mediation involves a mediator who is a neutral party that does not offer advice or serve as legal counsel. In a collaborative law situation, you both have your own attorney. The attorney can and will offer you legal guidance, along with filing paperwork and handling other legal tasks for you. 

Another difference is that with mediation, the court is still involved. Sometimes mediation is used to work out only specific issues within a case, such as custody or alimony payments. Collaborative law is the whole process. It means everything is done outside the courtroom. You have to sign an agreement that legally binds everyone involved to the terms. This information is for education and is not legal advice. 

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