The best answer to the question posed in the title of this post is that it all depends on your circumstances and what your objectives are as you are working your way through the divorce process.
The one thing all three of the models in the headline have in common is that they are all forms of alternative dispute resolution. And the presumption behind that turn of phrase is that one of the key objectives of all the parties to the divorce is that they want to avoid taking touchy issues such as child custody, parenting arrangements and property division to a court to have them worked out.
There may also be some desire to maintain control, reduce costs and move things along as quickly as possible. Those are among the key goals of any of the forms of alternative resolution, but to know which might work best for you, it’s best to consult an experienced attorney.
Of the three forms mentioned, arbitration is most like court. It is often confused with mediation, but it differs in that the subsequent decisions handed down come from an arbitrator.
Mediation involves working through points of issue with an attorney, developing a plan that everyone finds acceptable. It may be quicker and more cost effective. The parties of the dissolution maintain control, which can lower stress levels all around.
Collaboration offers the same benefit as mediation in keeping greater control of the outcome in the hands of those who are directly affected. What’s different is that both parties have their own attorney. Special focus is put on encouraging negotiation through open communication.
If there are areas of special concern, such as how to value an asset or how to deal with a primary home or other real estate, advisors from the necessary fields can be brought to the table to offer counsel on how to best achieve the desired outcome.
Divorce is never easy, but today there are options for obtaining the desired outcome without having to take the matter to trial.