Exploring Divorce: Mediation and Collaborative Divorce Alternatives to a New Mexico Court Divorce

Mediation and Collaborative Divorce: Alternatives to Traditional Court Divorce.

For some Albuquerque couples, going through a divorce can be extremely devastating. The separation may involve heated emotions, resulting in a lengthy lawyer battle to the finish. Other couples may be prepared to handle the divorce process in a more civil manner. Mediation and collaborative divorce have risen in popularity as alternative options to traditional court divorce.

Mediation vs. collaborative divorce

Although both mediation and collaborative divorce are considered non-confrontational approaches to the divorce process, they are slightly different. During a mediation session, the couple negotiates the details of their divorce settlement in the presence of a neutral, third-party mediator, according to the American Bar Association. The mediator is available to direct the discussion, present options and answer any legal questions the couple may have.

Personal representation is not mandated during a mediation session; however, an attorney is needed to submit the final divorce settlement into the court system for processing. Couples may choose to discuss the mediation session with their personal attorney to obtain legal advice.

Mediation and Collaborative divorce also takes place out of the Court system. Meetings between the parties and their attorneys are used to settle all financial, custody and support matters. These meetings take place between the parties, their collaborative attorneys and may involve the guidance and assistance of neutral financial or child custody professional, facilitation experts or other team members who are trained to assist parties through the collaborative process in order to resolve all their legal divorce issues. As the couple (along with their team) works through the details of their divorce, including property division, child custody, child and spousal support, and any other matters of concern, the parties can utilize professional resources to acquire the knowledge that is necessary for them to achieve informed and satisfactory results. Although the team concept may appear to be expensive, it often proves more cost effective than litigation.


Mediation and collaborative divorce alternatives are not ideal for every situation. Yet, they can be extremely beneficial to many couples. The American Bar Association reports the following advantages of these court divorce alternatives:

  • Less expensive. Since these cases take place out of court, there are little to no court costs involved, making the entire process less expensive.
  • Quicker. Traditional court divorce proceedings may take several years to finalize. Mediation may be settled within a few sessions.
  • Non-confrontational environment. Matters are discussed in a civil manner.
  • Higher rate of compliance. Studies show that couples are more compliant with their divorce decree when they have had a role in creating the terms of the settlement.
  • No court presence. Couples are able to create their own divorce decree, without the discretion of the courts.

Couples that share custody of a child have been found to maintain a better relationship after going through mediation or a collaborative divorce. This ultimately helps them parent better.

When to call an attorney

Whether you are considering the mediation process or collaborative divorce as a way to create a divorce settlement or you wish to undergo a traditional court divorce, legal representation is vital. An attorney will help you navigate through the divorce process while keeping your best interests in mind. This may result in divorce settlement terms that you can actually live with.


Contact PJ Hartman through our website. Or give us a call 505-247-3335.