What is the difference between collaborative practice and mediation?

The most important difference between collaborative practice and mediation is that in the collaborative process, you have your own lawyer to advise and support you.  A mediator cannot give you legal advice, and cannot assist you in reaching your goals.  The mediator is a neutral, whose job is to facilitate an agreement.  Many people seeking a divorce or addressing some other family problem do not have the legal knowledge to use a mediator without the help of a lawyer, and many are too distraught and upset to participate successfully in mediation.  If your issues are complicated or particularly emotional, collaborative law might be a better option for you.