Collaborative divorce seeks to encourage the divorcing couple to work together toward an agreement without going to court. This alternative dispute resolution (ADR) approach requires both parties to hire separate collaborative attorneys who agree to work together toward a settlement. The attorneys are specifically trained in collaborative law so the focus is to solve problems to reach a win-win solution for both parties. It also requires both parties to be actively involved in negotiations and problem-solving.
How Does Collaborative Divorce Help?
Collaborative divorce is beneficial for couples who are not satisfied with the adversarial approach of traditional litigation. Some benefits associated with this process include the ability to reach a mutual agreement without going to court, reduced stress and emotional trauma, and increased and improved communication, which can lead to a better post-divorce relationship.
Collaborative law divorce does not allow for a winner and loser, but instead produces a win-win situation. The result tends to be more satisfying, as well as less stressful, and less expensive for both parties than litigation.
Best Candidates for Collaborative Divorce
Collaborative divorce works well for couples who want to achieve the best relationship with the other spouse post-divorce. It’s a perfect choice for parents who want to make decisions in their children’s best interests. It also works well for anyone who prefers a non-adversarial divorce process.
Ways Collaborative Divorce Differs from Litigation
The main difference between collaborative divorce and litigation is that the collaborative process results in an out-of-court settlement which focuses on the couple’s common goals, while the judge decides the outcome in litigation. Litigation can take years to complete, whereas collaborative divorce settlements are reached more quickly.
Collaborative divorce differs from mediation because the latter functions more as a forum for negotiation than as a binding process. Collaborative divorce should not be confused with “unbundled” legal services, in which clients purchase specific tasks from their attorneys.
Why Collaborative Divorce is Not for Everyone
Not everyone can successfully use this method of untying the knot. Some individuals may have trouble becoming flexible enough to arrive at mutually satisfactory agreements. Others may have trouble communicating clearly and calmly with their spouse or partner during an emotional time and are unwilling to be in the same room as their spouse.
This option is likely to fail if either party feels the need to continue to blame the other for marital problems and is unable to look forward. Collaborative divorce is right for couples who can communicate well even when under stress and think clearly enough to arrive at a win-win solution, and who have a goal of having an amicable relationship with their spouse after the divorce is final.