What Are the Benefits of Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative Divorce focuses on parties reaching a mutually agreed upon settlement of their disputes with the assistance of a diverse professional team. Some of the benefits are: creating a cooperative environment where open communication is fostered by all; providing a supportive setting where you can work with your spouse with the assistance of Coaches or Facilitators; opportunities to make financial decisions assisted by Financial Neutral; when children are involved, guided by a Child Specialist, their needs are the main focus as you find ways to co-parent during and after the process. Collaboration and open communication reduces conflict in the future which increases the likelihood of compliance with decisions reached.

The process avoids positioning as adversaries. Each professional team member practices in his or her trained are of expertise. While your lawyer supports you; your spouse's lawyer supports your spouse. With the additional expertise of coaches to help navigate through the emotional distress and neutral financial experts to generate creative and wise solutions, everyone works together. By diminishing the parental conflict generated in an adversarial system you protect your children from facing the anguish and divided loyalties that too often result.

You are in control of the process and outcome. That means you generally spend less time and, as a result, less money to reach closure. It also means you reduce the fear and anxiety associated with court proceedings. Your issues stay within the collaborative divorce setting. That gives you more privacy and greater confidentiality--and less stress during an already stressful time.

What is the Goal of Collaborative Divorce?

The goal or purpose of collaborative divorce is to offer clients a structured, non-adversarial alternative to an increasingly adversarial system. It guarantees consumers of divorce services high quality, skilled legal, financial, and mental health professionals to assist in reaching a resolution without litigation. Litigation by its nature creates a winner and a loser, which over time does not serve anyone well. In most cases "final agreements" are final and do not require costly post decree work.

For Whom is Collaborative Divorce a Good Idea?

Not every case will be appropriate for collaborative divorce, nor will every client be interested in avoiding the adversarial contest.

Collaborative Divorce is for those clients who want more control over the process and the outcome.

Those who are experiencing the feelings of anger, hurt, and frustration inherent in the dissolution of a marriage and want an opportunity to deal with these feelings so the process can continue and stalemates will be less likely to happen.

Those who want a "Co-Parenting" plan specific to their family's needs.

Where there may be circumstances eg. financial or educational, psychiatric diagnosis, that need to be dealt with openly. These issues may require "thinking outside the box" that more often that non cannot be done in litigation. This creative problem solving cuts down on post divorce disputes.

For the consumers of legal services who are looking for experienced legal counsel and skilled advocacy, but do not want the stress and excuse of litigation.

Why Bring in other Professionals....doesn't that Add Greater Expense?

There are short term and long term costs in divorce. There is an emotional and financial cost in divorce as well as potential post divorce proceedings. Working with different team members at different hourly rates is simply more efficient both from a cost and process basis. It is more a question of how funds are being spent.
Divorce is about 80% an emotional process, and 20% a legal process. Having a professional with expertise in assisting clients manage their emotional journey and lessen the emotional intensity so that decisions are not based on current emotional pain, but future needs and hopes adds considerable benefit. Divorce is often experienced as a life crisis and having the addition of understanding support and help in identifying and communicating needs effectively with the help of a coach with mental health skill sets respects that the outcome is about more than simply achieving a divorce.
Making decisions about the "best interests" of children and how to co-parent going forward is enhanced through the neutral child specialist. Their expertise assures that knowledge about child development, personal strengths or vulnerabilities of children and transitioning to two homes is done with wisdom and great care.
Aside from deciding on how to share parenting time with the children, financial aspects of divorce can threaten a sense of basic security. Neutral financial experts who have a depth of experience in creatively exploring options to better assure financial outcomes for all. Finding the most mutually advantageous path, least damaging path, and clearest way forward greatly enhances reaching a mutual agreement.

How Is Collaborative Divorce Different From Mediation?

Mediation involves the use of a third party neutral in facilitating the negotiation and settlement of a dispute between the parties. Parties can always walk out of mediation and proceed to litigate. In collaborative Divorce cases, lawyers and their clients will talk and negotiate with or without the assistance of a third party neutral, unless they find such an intervention would be useful. In mediation, the neutral cannot be an advocate for one party over another, or propose a possible outcome if the case is litigated. Mediators are committed to continuing the dialogue until a satisfactory solution is reached since litigation is not an option.