"How is a Collaborative Divorce settlement different from a settlement in a traditional case?"
Most divorce cases settle out of court, in terms of property division, spousal and child support, and custody and visitation. But what distinguishes the collaborative model here is its ability to help the spouses plan for their post-divorce lives: you wind up not only with a legal settlement, but also with the tools to move on to the next stage of your life financially and emotionally.
In the collaborative process, a functional divorce settlement is the only goal, and the parties and professionals devote all their energy to it. Because everybody involved has agreed not to consider litigation an option, the focus is on goals rather than on positions and strategy. While the collaborative lawyers advise the parties on the law, other professionals deal with areas that the lawyers don't have the training to give feedback on, such as the impact of financial decisions and the children's well-being. The overall outcome isn't merely a legal decision: it also encompasses how the family is going to work in the best possible way after the divorce is final.
In addition, litigation is not ruled out in mediation, therefore the parties and their lawyers may still be taking opposing sides to some extent; in fact, mediation is often just one step in a litigated divorce. In Collaborative Divorce, though, the process is all about working together for everybody's benefit.
In general, Collaborative Divorce allows for the possibility of a far more complete divorce settlement -- one that plans for the next stage of your life -- than you would be able to achieve through a traditional legal settlement.