The collaborative divorce process takes the litigation out of the potentially ugly process of ending a marriage. Married couples that have decided to get divorced often have heard horror stories of the lengthy, expensive, and emotional process that friends or family members have gone through and may be justifiably scared with the process and the possibility of a negative outcome. Issues such as child custody, spousal maintenance (alimony), and the division of retirement assets and real estate all have the possibility to lead to a process that lasts years and likely will cost many thousands of dollars (tens of thousands in many contested cases). The collaborative divorce process saves ridiculous amounts of money, allows divorcing couples to avoid costly and contested litigation in open court, and helps to keep a balance between what each party wants and what the law provides in a fair and amicably negotiated setting.
What Is A Collaborative Divorce Attorney?
Collaborative divorce attorneys are a different breed than the normal divorce attorney in a number of ways. Whereas many divorce attorneys are trained and have decided that their best strategy is to fight tooth and nail over every item of concern for their clients, the collaborative divorce attorney – while also trained an experienced in this process – has the compassion to understand that fighting between divorcing spouses is not always in the best interests of either individual or their family. It is this extra knowledge and understanding that gives a collaborative divorce attorney a special viewpoint to quash conflict and find a middle ground for couples that may seem worlds apart and at each other’s throats.
How Is Collaborative Divorce Different Than Going to Court?
Collaborative divorce, as opposed to litigation within the Family Courts, does the following:
- Avoids costly court litigation
- Keeps many details throughout the negotiation process our of the public record
- Allows a trained collaborative divorce attorney to assist in dealing with the emotional aspects of a divorce (a judge will never do this)
- Is a more efficient process than litigation in court
- Saves divorcing couples tens of thousands of dollars
- Settles issues dealing with visitation and child custody and avoids having evaluations be ordered by the court or child representatives from being appointed (which can be extremely costly and extend the entire process by multiple months!)
- Aims to work on a “fair and equitable” result, rather than attempt to crush your soon-to-be ex-spouse
What is the Collaborative Divorce Process?
A collaborative divorce attorney understands that the vast majority of divorcing couples are not either best friends nor are they necessarily sworn enemies. They understand and acknowledge that there are emotional concerns and possibly long histories of bad behavior by one or both spouses that may contribute to either spouse feeling like they want to hurt the other in the divorce process. Collaborative divorce lawyers know that allowing decisions to be made on emotions rather than reasoned fact and application of the law is essential to the process, but that the emotions and fear of either party need to be addressed as well.
Collaborative divorce attorneys oftentimes assist in getting the process started by having both parties meet with a therapist or psychologist that is specially trained in dealing with divorcing couples to help alleviate some of the stresses in dealing with what likely is one of the most emotional times in a person’s life.
The collaborative divorce lawyer will meet with both party’s individually and together at, possibly, multiple meetings, to discuss each person’s ideal situation and thought process. When children are involved, a helpful way to get the parents to think of the children’s bet interests is to ask them what their kids would say about their relationship during the divorce process and shortly thereafter if you asked them 10 or 15 years down the road. If the expected answer is “I thought my parents hated each other,” then it is clear that the skills of a collaborative divorce attorney and their resources and advice need to be given great deference.
The collaborative divorce process will involve both parties truthfully exchanging financial records so that the collaborative divorce lawyer can view all assets and debts and “trade horses” by letting each spouse know what is fair and what the law would probably decide if they wasted their time and money in a 2-year divorce rather than continuing with the collaborative process. Reaching a fair and equitable conclusion can be done in a much more fast and efficient manner as strict rules of evidence can be ignored in this process so that the collaborative divorce attorney can see all and make a global settlement solution.
Is Collaborative Divorce Right for Me?
The short answer, probably, yes. But the collaborative divorce process is one that requires individuals to decide that they do not want to air their dirty laundry in open court, that they do not want to subject their children to unnecessary fighting and pulls from one parent to the next, that they want to work together and have a better relationship when the process is done than they have right now for the good of their family. While not every divorce can work through a collaborative process, the vast majority of divorces can be settled this way. The Silverberg Law Firm LLC handles collaborative divorces and has years of experience in negotiating and settling otherwise contested matters in an amicable manner saving divorcing couples tens of thousands of dollars and allows them to get their life back. Contact us to discuss your situation and we will provide you with compassionate, fair, and effective solutions that work best for your family.