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Benefits and Drawbacks of a Collaborative Divorce

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Facing a divorce is never easy, but you can make the process much more inviting by opting for a collaborative divorce. The traditional idea of divorce is fighting it out in a Pennsylvania court. You imagine arguing with your spouse over assets and the children, but it does not have to be that way. Collaborative divorce, as the American Bar Association defines it, is when you end your marriage outside a courtroom through working together.

The whole goal is to stay out of court. You sign an agreement that says you will commit to negotiating and settling differences without arguments or hostility. You agree that you will not take the matter to court. If, for some reason, you decide that you must go to court, your lawyer will no longer represent you because you hire him or her only for the collaborative process.

The Collaborative Divorce Process

Alternative dispute resolutions in Philadelphia family law are not a new concept; collaborative law falls under this category. However, it sets itself apart from mediation or arbitration in that each party still has their own legal representation. The attorneys do not act as third-party overseers. Additionally, if the collaborative process fails, the lawyers are also at a loss as they no longer represent either spouse.

Collaborative divorce offers a relatively new and less complicated approach to the dissolution of marriage. At first glance, it may be mistaken for mediation, but there is a significant difference. In mediation, if an agreement is not reached, you have the option to proceed to litigation with the same attorney or representative. In a collaborative divorce, all parties sign a statement declaring that the divorce will not be taken to litigation, even if an agreement is not reached.

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. This type of divorce gives you a lot of control over ending your marriage. It also provides an incentive to put aside the feelings and focus on the process. This alone is a huge benefit because it is feelings that often get in the way of successful negotiations. It can also help you to finalize the divorce faster and for a less-expensive cost than traditional divorce.

However, you have options, one of which is a collaborative divorce. Here are six reasons people consider this form of Alternative Dispute Resolution or ADR.

Less expensive

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

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.

Less stressful

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.

Faster pace

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.

Customized solutions

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

Workable agreement

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.

Improved Privacy

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.

Make The Right Choice for a Peaceful Transition

As you navigate the emotional complexity of ending your marriage, remember that it doesn’t have to be a battleground. Collaborative divorce provides an avenue for mutual respect and cooperation, easing the transition for everyone involved. It can be a better alternative that protects your privacy while granting you a level of control over the outcome.

If you’re contemplating divorce and the thought of unnecessary conflict disheartens you, consider collaborative divorce. This will not only protect your interests but also foster a healthier transition for you and your family. Choosing the path of least resistance can make a world of difference for everyone in the long run. Take the first step towards a more peaceful divorce today.

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