Advantages of Collaborative Law vs. Traditional Divorce Litigation

If you are contemplating divorce, collaborative law may be the better option for you.  Here are the top reasons why:

  1. Privacy. Are you concerned with keeping your personal and financial information private? The collaborative process is usually confidential, whereas the court process requires the court to keep a public record and conduct public hearings and trials in open court.  Collaborative meetings are private, so your personal and financial information can be protected.
  1. Control. Do you want to make your own decisions and create solutions with your spouse? You have more control over the outcome through the collaborative law process. You can voice your opinions and know that you will be heard.  You get to agree to settlement issues based on compromise and fair play, instead of having a judge make the final decisions that affect your lives.  Because you are playing a more active role in the divorce, there is far less stress and anxiety involved. Also, you can choose you and your spouse’s attorneys, knowing that both are committed to the collaborative divorce model.
  1. Help from Neutral Specialists. Do you want to save time and money for the best advice?  Attorneys often use jointly-hired neutral experts who work for both parties to help create solutions.  Sharing these neutral specialists saves money and helps the couple feel secure and really understand what’s going on.
    1. A financial planner can often save money (and assets) for both parties by wise use of budgeting and tax planning when assets will be divided.
    2. A process facilitator will help the parties communicate in ways that allow them to effectively explain their positions on issues and reduce tension.
    3. A child specialist can provide assistance with parenting issues and help create a custom, workable parenting plan that suits the children and parents.
    4. Mental health professionals are especially helpful where one or more of the parties has unrealistic expectations or other high conflict situations
  1. Time. Do you want to decide how fast to move and determine your own time schedule?  The process takes less time than litigation because you choose the time and place you meet instead of dealing with the timetable of busy divorce courts.  You spend less time at the courthouse waiting for your case to be called and observing scheduling conferences and temporary hearings that seem to have very little to do with the outcome of your case.  Also, you and your spouse can take your time to decide wat you want to do about your marriage.  You don’t have the pressure of a quick trial setting, which can put a lot of unnecessary, additional stress on a couple that is considering reconciliation.
  1. Money. Are you worried about being able to afford a divorce? Collaborative law is less expensive than litigation.  Attorney fees and court costs add up quickly.  Also, sharing neutral specialists is cheaper than hiring opposing experts during litigation.  However, if the process fails and you and your spouse don’t reach an agreement, you both most likely will have to hire new attorneys and going through the court process.
  1. Future Amicable Relationship. Do you want/need to maintain a relationship with your spouse? This is especially important for parents who see the value in cooperating and sharing the raising of their kids. Because the process is voluntary, it’s more likely that you and your spouse will be “on the same page” with your desired outcome.  You know that you worked together to make life easier for everyone, which is especially important if you have children. For these reasons, you both are more likely to honor the agreement post-divorce.