How To Divorce With Less Stress
11 Benefits of Collaborative Divorce
Collaborative divorce is a process where attorneys, financial advisors, therapists, and other collaborative divorce professionals work with you and your spouse to reach a settlement agreement. In doing so, the professionals work diligently to help you and your spouse remain out of court.
By working together, a team of collaborative divorce professionals help you and your spouse tackle various issues. If you thought you could never settle with your spouse, the collaborative process will show you otherwise.
If you’re wondering whether the collaborative method is right for you, consider the following factors:
• You want a civilized, respectful resolution of the issues
• You would like to keep open the possibility of friendship with your partner down the road
• You and your partner will be co-parenting children together and you want the best co-parenting relationship possible
• You want to protect your children from the harm associated with litigated dispute resolution between parents
• You and your partner have a circle of friends or extended family in common that you both want to remain connected to
• You have ethical or spiritual beliefs that place high value on taking personal responsibility and handling conflicts with integrity
• You value privacy in your personal affairs and do not want the details of your divorce and your settlement to be available in the public court record
• You value control and autonomous decision making and do not want to hand over decisions about your future financial and/or child-rearing arrangements to a stranger (i.e. judge)
• You recognize the restricted range of outcomes generally available in the public court system and want a more creative and individualized range of choices available to you and your spouse or partner for resolving issues/conflict
• You place value on the continuing relationships that will exist in your restructured family situation
• You understand that conflict resolution with integrity involves not only achieving your own goals but finding a way to achieve the reasonable goals of the other person
• You and your spouse or partner will commit your intelligence and energy toward creative problem solving rather than toward recrimination or revenge fixing the problem rather than fixing the blame
If you and your spouse choose collaborative divorce, you both agree from the outset not to battle in court. Instead, you and your spouse sit down with professionals and work out settlements that meet the goals of your families. You and your spouse pledge that if either spouse wants to bring the dispute to court, both spouses must retain new litigation counsel.
This agreement is fundamental to the collaborative process. It keeps the you and your spouse at the negotiating table and requires attorneys to find creative resolutions rather than resorting to the court to intervene in an impasse.
Below are some of the benefits to the collaborative method:
1. The collaborative process is client-focused. For clients, the collaborative process offers a number of benefits. You and your spouse each obtain your own attorneys. Attorneys work through your wants and needs to reach a settlement where both you and your spouse agree.
2. Your children are treated as a priority. Children are always treated as a priority, and everyone on the team works to maintain and support the you and your spouse’s ability to co-parent their children. The collaborative process protects children from the negative impact of an adversarial and contentious divorce process.
3. You can get a divorce during COVID-19. Because a major benefit of collaborative divorce is working together, you don’t need the court’s help to decide various issues. The only time you may have to appear in front of the judge is to enter in the final judgment of divorce. However, sometimes your appearance is waived. Most courts aren’t currently holding trials remotely, however, because you won’t need a trial, your attorney may be able to enter the judgment of divorce on your behalf.
You and your spouse can mediate virtually. You and your spouse can choose times that work best for everyone and are able to join the calls or video conferences from anywhere. If you still have to travel to work during the COVID-19 outbreak, you can resolve your disputes during your commute. Many mediators may offer extended hours to help resolve issues before you go to work, or when you arrive home. You and your spouse can exchange documents with your mediator via email.
4. You and your spouse choose your own attorneys. You and your spouse each have your own respective attorneys that guide you through the collaborative process. Some issues may be easier to decide, while others may be more challenging. Regardless of the issues that arise, your attorneys will use their expertise in this area to help you reach a settlement.
5. You can avoid court. Keeping the process outside of court until an agreement is reached eliminates hours spent in court for case management and other court-required events, saving legal costs and the client’s time. The collaborative process differs from the litigation method in that you don’t have to go to court. During COVID-19, you can arrange a series of video conferences or phone calls with your spouse and his or her attorney. In doing so, you come to agreements on various terms with the help of trained professionals.
6. You will save time. You and your spouse avoid court, and in turn, save time. You and your spouse keep control of the timing of the process, unlike litigated cases where the court dictates the time frame. They can move more quickly or more slowly than a court would require, and can reach informal temporary agreements quickly and efficiently when necessary, rather than filing a series of motions that often result in court Orders that impede, rather than encourage settlement.
Court battles can take years because it may be challenging to get a court date. Because of COVID-19, court dates are likely pushed back even further. Reaching a settlement agreement means avoiding unnecessary delays.
7. You will save money. Not only are you saving time by avoiding court, you’re also saving money. Attorneys usually charge hourly fees for their time. Let’s say your case is scheduled before a particular judge at 9am.If you get to court at 9am but you don’t appear in front of the judge until 2pm, you’re paying your attorney for hours spent in the courthouse. When you opt for a collaborative divorce, you avoid these fees.
8. You’re in control. Because you and your spouse, with the help of trained professionals, reach an agreement, you make the decisions about various issues. Because you work with trained professionals, you’re never alone during this process. Your attorney will help you make decisions on important issues. You and your spouse determine custody issues, college expenses, and whether spousal support is right for your situation. Financial advisors can guide you through this process.
9. You’re never alone. You and your spouse have a team of collaborative professionals all working together to help them reach an amicable resolution. They benefit from the advice of financial professionals, divorce coaches and child specialist.
10. The collaborative method ensures confidentially. The process is confidential so sensitive financial and personal information doesn’t enter the public domain. Because all meetings are private and confidential, only the final divorce agreement becomes part of the public record. Have you ever turned on the television and seen the most intimate details of celebrity divorces? This is because they chose the litigation method. Collaborative divorce keeps the details of your divorce private. You and your spouse decide which documents become part of the public record.
11. Avoid unnecessary stress. The divorce process can be stressful. However, by avoiding court, and likely avoiding fights due to potential delays and increased spending on attorneys, you avoid the stress that comes along with these issues.
Overall, the key benefits of the collaborative method are:
• Avoid court and the loss of privacy, control and uncertainty associated with the traditional process,
• Protect your children and their feelings from the trauma of a court battle,
• Ensure that everyone’s financial interests are met so that you can finally move on with your life and embrace a new beginning, and
• Save money and time while helping you and your spouse find creative solutions that meet both of your needs.
What happens if you and your spouse are not able to reach an agreement? The collaborative attorneys are required to withdraw from the case, and you and your spouse will need to hire new counsel if you both wish to take the case to court. This ensures that all parties, including the divorce attorneys, are fully committed to achieving a final resolution without resorting to court.
If you think that collaborative law might be an option for you it is recommended that you contact a collaboratively trained divorce attorney to discuss your circumstances and the details of your case. Together you and the attorney can determine the best option for you.
You and your spouse likely have one goal: to obtain a divorce. The collaborative process can help you achieve this goal as efficiently and as effectively as possible. COVID-19 has impacted people in various ways, but it doesn’t have to delay your divorce.