Is Collaborative Divorce Right for You?

A collaborative divorce allows couples to work together with their lawyers to negotiate the end of a marriage. This type of divorce will not work for everyone, but it does have benefits to offer. Here is what everyone should know about the collaborative process before they file for divorce.

Benefits of Collaborative Divorce

A collaborative process has a lot of potential benefits because it is fair for both parties. The couples must sign agreements before any negotiations begin to confirm their willingness to listen and avoid confrontation. A binding contract prevents the participants and their lawyers from future litigation of any agreement made during the collaboration.

Collaboration makes it easier to create flexible arrangements that meet the needs of the entire family. All family units are unique, so the more rigid rules of courtroom rulings may not be comfortable for everyone. Private negotiations avoid the stress of airing differences in an open courtroom setting.

The less combative divorce method also helps to keep children separate from the stress of their parent’s disagreements. Children do not attend the meetings and never have to go to court. Collaborative divorces often involve less anger because the emphasis is on negotiating and not competing.  

The method is also a cost-effective one. Successful collaborative divorces can cost significantly less than the price of a traditional divorce. However, couples get no savings if the process fails and the couple ends up in court. People should only accept collaboration if they feel they can be fair and trust their spouse to do the same.  

Process of Collaborative Divorces

A variety of professionals could be in attendance during the meetings. The experts that attend the meeting will depend on the situation, but collaborative divorces often include financial and child specialists and therapists. All the professionals hired are neutral participants. The lawyers do not choose the advisors or hire their own private consultants.

The divorce is not final after a single meeting. Multiple meetings allow the lawyers and their clients to work through all the issues individually. Each spouse needs to have their own lawyer to prevent any feelings of coercion or favoritism. Both members of the couple must agree to the arrangements made before moving on to the next topic.

People Who Should Avoid Collaborative Divorce

Collaboration does not work in all situations. Collaboration is not always a fast and effortless process. Some people view the world very differently from their spouse. Couples that rarely agree on anything may find the negotiation process tedious and impossible. Both people must have the ability to compromise to have a successful outcome.  

The couple must have the willingness to discuss all issues openly and work through their disagreements or anger. The couple doesn’t need to be happy about the decision to divorce or to have no conflicts. The only requirement is that they want a peaceful and fair resolution rather than just a win.

Couples with complex finances and a lot of assets may not be able to use the method effectively. Seek out a more traditional divorce procedure if there are domestic abuse issues or one spouse feels controlled or intimidated by the other. Also, if one partner believes the other is an unfit parent, the couple may find it impossible to agree on child custody arrangements. These and other issues will make another divorce option necessary.

Contact the Law Offices of Helen Allen to learn more about collaborative divorce. We can help you to decide if this method is right for you and your family. If not, we can also discuss the other options available. Call us today to schedule a consultation.