As Albert Einstein once said: “In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.”

This statement could not be truer for divorce. While divorce can certainly be difficult, there is opportunity at the end. There is also happiness at the end, depending on your perspective.

As a divorce attorney, I work with couples every day as they go through the process to end their marriage. They choose Collaborative Law or Mediation as their methods of divorce because they want a healthier way that will benefit not only themselves, but also their spouse and their children. While I am the first attorney in the Greenville area to practice Collaborative Law, I’m also an expert in mediation for Eastern North Carolina. The difference between Collaborative Law and Mediation can understandably get confusing. Here’s what you need to know:

Collaborative Law:

You and your spouse each work with your own Collaborative Divorce attorney. You are each represented by a different party and work together to reach a mutually acceptable resolution. For instance, if you hire me to be your Collaborative Divorce attorney, your spouse will have to hire a separate Collaborative Divorce attorney. We will then all meet to discuss the best options for your agreement to benefit you and your spouse. This is cheaper than litigation and keeps your family out of the courtroom.


You and your spouse work with the same neutral third party. For instance, if you hire me to be your mediator, I will sit with both you and your spouse to help you come to a Memorandum of Understanding. With my help, you and your spouse are able to discuss issues that need to be resolved in an amicable way. This method is cheaper than Collaborative Law and litigation, while also keeping your family out of the courtroom. It also allows you to maintain control.

Mediation is often the choice for couples who can agree that their marriage is over. In this option, the couple is really just looking for some assistance and guidance on coming up with and memorializing an agreement. As a mediator, I serve as a trusted and neutral third party to help both spouses brainstorm and organize their agreement. Through my expertise in mediation and conflict resolution, I am able to look at the bigger picture and encourage the couple to do the same. It can help couples amicably decide issues like shared parenting agreements, child support, distribution of property, retirement, and taxes. This method is confidential since it is settled out of the court system.

Through my years of experience, I believe that mediation is a good option for spouses that are still able to communicate despite their differences. If you can sit at your kitchen table and have a conversation about how your divorce will work and how things will be divvied up, then mediation would likely be a good option.

In addition to divorce, mediation is known to work well for several other relationships and circumstances. Mediation can be used for the following:

  • Creating a premarital/prenuptial agreement
  • Developing a postnuptial agreement
  • Settling a dispute with a family member or friend
  • Settling a dispute with a neighbor or co-worker
  • Resolving conflict with a contractor or company

It is truly amazing how a mediator, who has an unbiased opinion and different perspective, can provide clarity and support for two people who find themselves in conflict. I am an expert in Mediation and Divorce Culture and can help you during this time. If you and your spouse are interested in learning more about mediation, contact AN|R Law Offices. We have locations in Greenville, Raleigh, and Beaufort to help you divorce in a healthy manner.

Ashley-Nicole-Russell is a mediator in Greenville Beaufort and Raleigh Nc.