Updated: Apr 1, 2021
Divorce is never easy. But it can be easier if both spouses are willing to curb their resentment long enough to realize that they can probably agree on at least a few key things. Collaborative Divorce is a newer and more effective alternative way to experience divorce - without fighting, without courts, and without the higher price tag of a traditional divorce process.
No Public Court Battle
When marriage begins, there is friendship and mutual respect. Divorce doesn't have to change the best parts of your relationship, even if the marriage part of the relationship is ending. Collaborative divorce, a more peaceful alternative to traditional litigation, has many benefits that focus on working together throughout the divorce process to find resolution.
When couples opt for collaborative divorce, the process begins with each party choosing a qualified collaborative divorce attorney to represent them and guide them through the process. As a team, the group will arrange to meet for an initial discussion where a four-way agreement will be entered into, which outlines the parameters of the representation, includes the agreement of the parties to pursue a settlement though this collaborative divorce process, and all other applicable terms and arrangements such as number of meetings, key issues to be discussed, or adding other collaborative specialists to the group. This process stands in stark contrast to traditional divorce, in which one party sues the other for dissolution of marriage and files a complaint in court to which the other party files a response. The court then assigns a judge to the case and oversees all future proceedings, including setting schedules and benchmarks, including requiring meetings and appearances from the parties and/or their respective attorneys. Because court proceedings are a key element to traditional litigation, there is a tremendous amount of work for the attorneys throughout the discovery phase of the process, including filings required by the court for review, which can exponentially increase attorneys fees that commonly comprise much of the costs associated with a traditional divorce process. The entire process from A to Z is a matter of public record, unlike collaborative divorce which is private from beginning to end, with only the exception that the final settlement will be presented in court to a judge at the very end of the process as a formality.
Because collaborative divorce embraces negotiation and mutual consideration for not only the issues that are important to the separation itself but also topics that are important to the family as a whole, but may not normally be addressable in court, the approach is effective, comprehensive and holistic and allows families to experience divorce in a positive way that minimizes future harm.
In contrast to litigation, which centers on an impersonal court-based fight between the parties, collaborative divorce can shield children of divorcing spouses from suffering repeating emotional harm that can arise throughout the court process.
A Fraction Of The Cost Of Traditional Divorce
Collaborative divorce can be significantly less costly than a traditional divorce, due largely to the differences between the processes. The ballpark savings to a family experiencing collaborative divorce can be anywhere from one-third to one-half the expense of a traditional divorce. The reason for this is because the entire process takes place outside of a courtroom which means less actual process, like incurring billable attorneys hours in preparation for and appearances in court, discovery, mandatory filings, production of documents, depositions and more. The bottom line is that collaborative divorce is much more appealing financially because it's a lot less work for the attorneys, which leads to significant savings of family assets that can be otherwise allocated to life after divorce.
Privacy and Control
The business of splitting up is hard on families. The impact on the divorcing spouses and their children are often made worse by the public nature of a traditional divorce. Collaborative divorce allows the parties to maintain total privacy as they negotiate the terms of their settlement.
Another key benefit for families experiencing divorce is that the collaborative process allows the parties to maintain full control over the entire process,including the time frame, the issues that will be addressed, the number and schedule of meetings that will take place, hiring of specialists that may be necessarily added to the team. Because the parties can control the process, this means they can also control the cost - unlike with traditional divorce where strangers manage the process and the extent of the court proceedings tend to drive up and dictate the ultimate financial burden to the parties.
Retaining control of the process can help to minimize the feelings of loss felt as a result of divorce. Through working together as a team, divorce is experienced in a more positive light which helps the parties to transition in a way that not only promotes civility and acceptance but also creates harmony into the future.
To find out if collaborative divorce is right for your family, click here for more information.