Collaborative divorce is a relatively new and less complex way of handling a dissolution of marriage. At first, you might confuse it with mediation, but there is one major difference.
If you do not come to an agreement during mediation, you can continue to litigation using the same attorney or representative. During a collaborative divorce, all parties sign a statement that says the divorce will not go to litigation even if you don’t reach an agreement.
Benefits of a collaborative divorce
If you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, you are probably not looking forward to the prospect of litigation.
However, you have options, one of which is a collaborative divorce. Here are four reasons people consider this form of Alternative Dispute Resolution or ADR.
One of the primary benefits of a collaborative divorce is that it is less expensive than litigation. A contested divorce can cost thousands of dollars, while a collaborative divorce is less expensive as long as you can agree. According to information from the Collaborative Law Institute, couples who use the collaborative approach to divorce spend about half what litigation would cost. This helps both parties begin the post-divorce era on firmer financial footing.
With legal fees and associated costs, a lengthy court battle can be rough on your budget. While collaborative divorce may not be cheap, it is usually noticeably less expensive than traditional divorce.
When your divorce concludes, you need enough funds to start your new life. By opting for an affordable collaborative divorce, you save some money to spend on your next chapter.
It is not unusual for the atmosphere to become contentious during litigation. Collaborative divorce takes place outside of court in a more relaxed environment that helps couples work out their divorce agreement. There is less stress as compared with litigation, and with less stress comes less bitterness.
Collaborative divorce moves at a faster pace than traditional divorce, which can go on for months, if not years. On average, collaboration is over in half the time or less than it takes for litigation to wind up.
In a collaborative divorce, both spouses sit down with their respective attorneys to discuss each issue from asset distribution to child custody. Rather than having to accede to the decisions of a judge, the parties have more control over their own divorce and, as a result, their future. The parties can ask questions, state opinions and make requests as they work their way toward a divorce settlement.
You and your husband or wife may have a record of solving problems together. Even if your marriage is on the rocks, you may be able to use this cooperative experience to come up with the right solutions for your specific situation. By contrast, a judge may take a more cookie-cutter approach to your divorce.
Since you and your partner are engaging in a collaborative divorce voluntarily, you are more likely to come to an equitable solution. You and your partner are also more likely to stick to the agreement. A divorce option through which couples work together to develop their own settlement agreement is the whole point of the ADR process. Collaborative divorce is a calm, respectful way to end one phase of your life and begin another.
Your information remains private. During litigation, most of the information is public record.
You retain some control
With a conventional divorce, a judge has wide latitude to determine how to end your marriage. While you may not agree with a judge’s order, it is legally binding. With collaborative divorce, though, you have an opportunity to negotiate matters with your spouse. If you can reach an acceptable agreement, a judge is likely to respect it.
Drawbacks of a collaborative divorce
One of the primary drawbacks of a collaborative divorce is that if you do not come to an agreement, you will need to start all over. You cannot go to court immediately after like you can with mediation.
In certain cases, the judge might not allow you to use collaborative divorce as a settlement. This is due to the fear that a party may use coercion.
Knowing the benefits and drawbacks of collaborative divorce can help you decide the best course of action for you.