You and your ex work with your respective specially trained collaborative lawyers to resolve issues through face-to-face meetings. All parties sign an agreement that prevents collaborative lawyers from continuing to represent their clients when discussions break down and it is necessary to go to court. This is an incentive for everyone, including lawyers, to reach an agreement with you.
The benefits of collaborative law are the same as those of family mediation, but the difference is that you have the support of your lawyer through the process, including during meetings, and not just in the background, as with mediation.