Mediation is a process where a neutral third party facilitates negotiations between two parties to assist them in reaching an agreement. Sometimes parties attend mediation with their respective lawyers, sometimes they go without lawyers and then retain lawyers to get independent legal advice. Some lawyer mediators also draft an agreement for clients to take to their lawyers for independent legal advice and for signing, other mediators (including all mediators who are not lawyers) will draft a non-binding memorandum of agreement, which then needs to be drafted into a separation agreement by a lawyer.

In Collaborative Practice, since you are working with lawyers in each four way session, you have the support of your own lawyer at each session and in between sessions. Both of the lawyers have been trained in the interest-based negotiation model used in mediation, and are committed to respectful, client-centred, negotiations. Once you and your partner have reached an agreement, the lawyers will then work together to draft a separation agreement. You will have time to review the agreement with your lawyer and make any necessary changes before finalizing it.