Estate Planning, Collaborative Family Law & Mediation

Collaborative Divorce or Litigation?

  • What is the biggest difference between Collaborative Practice and litigation?
    • Control, Collaboration & Communication

In a collaborative divorce, you and your spouse agree not to go to court. This gives you and your spouse control of the process and outcome whereas in a litigated divorce a judge will make the final decision. So, instead of the win-lose court setting of litigation, you, your spouse and the entire collaborative team work with each other, not against each other, towards mutually beneficial solutions. In a litigated divorce, there are often barriers to effective communication thus making it difficult for you and your spouse  to express your concerns and goals. In a collaborative divorce, you and your spouse learn a framework for effectively communicating your concerns and goals – a framework that you carry with you after the divorce is complete.

  • What is the biggest difference between Collaborative Practice and mediation?
    • Personalized counsel & a team approach

In a collaborative divorce, both you and your spouse are represented by attorneys throughout the entire process. Furthermore, in a collaborative divorce, the entire collaborative team is there to help facilitate communication between you and your spouse , to help you work toward the best possible solution for all, and to make sure that all issues are addressed.

  • What does Collaborative Practice offer?
    • A team, a safe environment, communication, information sharing & a creative, respectful approach

A collaborative divorce utilizes a team of specialists who leverage their areas of expertise to address children’s needs, the emotional and financial aspects of divorce, and to provide a structure for communication that considers each person’s needs. By eliminating the threat of court, the collaborative process helps to create a safe environment for both you and your spouse to  freely share information so that good decisions can be made. The collaborative process focuses on maintaining a creative and respectful approach that helps you and your spouse reach a mutually agreeable settlement.

  • What are the benefits of Collaborative Practice?
    • Better for children, private, less stressful, focused on the future, saves time, better communication skills

Children are typically left out of the divorce process; a process that will subject them to enormous life changes over which they have little influence. In fact, studies show that 25% of children from divorced families have serious emotional or psychological problems and that adult children of divorced parents generally feel they were scared by the experience. By including a child specialist in the collaborative team, Collaborative Practice gives children a voice in the process which may alleviate the potential of future trauma that sometimes persists for generations.

Because collaborative professionals work entirely outside of the court system, collaborative divorce files are never made part of any public record. When a you and your spouse reach agreement in a collaborative divorce, your lawyers can insure that only the information the law requires to process a legal divorce goes into the court file. Your personal information is insulated from public records to the maximum degree possible.

Due to the unique structure of the collaborative team and the targeted nature of the collaborative process, a collaborative divorce is generally more efficient and productive than a litigated divorce. By improving the communication between you and your spouse and because you and your spouse retain control of the process, a collaborative divorce may be less stressful.

The collaborative process helps you focuses on the future, not just the immediacy of the divorce. It helps you consider all the issues involved in transitioning from being parents to being co-parents, from being a family to being a family rearranged and expanded and to do so in responsible ways that meet the human needs for nurturance, guidance, and support. It provides you with tools, especially communication skills, that may have positive applications in your post-divorce relationships.

  • What are Collaborative Practice’s limits?

Like any tool, Collaborative Practice is not the right approach for all situations. Before choosing any divorce option, consider all the facts of your situation and the strengths and weaknesses of all the options you are considering. But remember, even a conventional divorce can’t make a liar honest, the irresponsible responsible, or the addict clean. That said, collaborative divorce may not be appropriate if:

  • One or both spouses have a serious mental illness that is not under control.
  • One or both spouses have untreated/uncontrolled drug or alcohol problems.
  • There is domestic violence occurring in the relationship.
  • One or both spouses lack the ability to fully and freely participate in the discussions leading to resolution.
  • One or both spouses lack the capacity to make and keep commitments about behavior and follow through.
  • One or both spouses are prepared to lie to conceal information.

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