In short, a collaborative divorce is more than just “a divorce that is collaborative.” The divorce procedure varies significantly from what most people have heard of. A voluntary, out-of-court conflict settlement process is called collaborative divorce. Divorcing spouses use this method to resolve their differences in a conference room instead of a courtroom.
Through the Collaborative Divorce Process, a couple can shift their efforts from “winning” the divorce to making a settlement that fulfills their children’s needs and their own. It also respects the concerns of both sides. Contact Karp & Iancu, S.C. for more information on collaborative divorce.
Advantages and disadvantages of collaborative divorce
It is not true that a collaborative divorce involves no conflict compared to a litigated divorce. How a divorced couple resolves their disagreements is what makes a difference. Screaming spouses and their furious lawyers argue their problems in court during the lawsuit. Then, they get instructions from a judge.
In a collaborative divorce, unhappy spouses and their lawyers discuss their problems in a
meeting while a divorce coach tries to keep everyone calm and on task. The couple eventually
decides what they want to do.
What is different about collaborative divorce?
There is only one element that sets collaborative divorce apart: a “participation agreement.” It is an official document that all individuals, even the divorce attorneys, sign. It states, “We agree to work cooperatively to settle this case peacefully and to stay away from court.” The professionals all withdraw, and the couple must restart with new attorneys if one of them decides to disregard the collaborative procedure and go to court.
But how does that work?
This works pretty well. Everybody can understand the principles of the Collaborative Process. Everyone knows the matter will be resolved as it is right now if you decide to fight in court. Everyone is, therefore, more inclined to stay and negotiate than to give up and fight.
1. You have more control
In a collaborative divorce, you and your spouse have more control over the process rather than outsiders. You do not have to wait for the judge to announce a hearing date, adjust your schedules according to that date, or cancel your important plans or appointments. You also have more control over the outcome of the process since a third party does not make the decision.
2. It is a win-win situation rather than a competition
Divorce court cases can turn into a legal competition or battle real quickly. You must have heard the term “custody battles.” Well, it does not have to be like that. When you opt for a collaborative divorce instead of a court case, you work with each other instead of going against each other.
3. There is communication between the spouses
Meeting privately, along with your attorneys, is a far better procedure than showing up in a court with the judge, jury, and other people present. Nobody wants to put on a show about their divorce to the public. In a collaborative divorce, there is privacy and better communication between the spouses as they speak to each other directly.
4. It is a better alternative for children
If your divorce involves children, there is nothing better than a collaborative divorce and worse than a court litigation. Children are greatly impacted by the effects of a divorce. It is already difficult for them to accept that their mom and dad won’t be living together in one house. Watching their parents fight in a courtroom for a bunch of people to watch is not something you want your child to experience.
5. It saves you time
Perhaps one of the best advantages of a collaborative divorce is the amount of time it saves for you and your spouse. In court cases, the judge chooses when your next hearing will be. Since courts are usually busy places dealing with millions of cases, it could be a year before your divorce is finalized. In a collaborative divorce, you can meet privately and make the final decision, making the process more efficient.
1. The possibility of not arriving at an agreement
Since you, your spouse, and your respective attorneys will be involved in the decision-making process, there will be no single authority. Therefore, there is a chance that you do not agree with what your spouse wants and vice versa. This could go on for a while, and you may find that no matter the compromises you or your spouse make, you go back to square one.
2. You will need to trust your ex-spouse
It can be extremely challenging to be on good terms with your ex-spouse during your divorce. Therefore, it is not surprising that most couples find it impossible to collaborate with each other. Collaborative divorce requires both sides to be respectful, polite, and transparent. If even one parent does not cooperate, the whole process will be of no use.
3. One party may use coercion
In some couples, one spouse is the dominating and coercive one while the other is more easy-going. If you believe your ex-spouse may use coercion to try to get you to agree to their terms, it is not safe to opt for a collaborative divorce. In some cases, the judge may not allow the couple for a collaborative divorce due to the same reason, especially if they have a history of coercion.
4. You may need to start over
If the process does not work or becomes successful, you may need to start over. In some cases, even couples who are on the best terms and have good intentions throughout the process fail during a collaborative divorce. This means that your hours of hard work, hundreds or thousands of dollars, and emotional efforts could go to waste. You may also consider hiring a new attorney, which creates more stress for you.
5. The process could be costly
A collaborative divorce often involves input from experts, such as financial experts, psychologists, child experts, etc. Hiring each of them can be costly. Even though you and your spouse will be splitting the costs, it could easily go up to a thousand dollars.
If you want to file for a divorce but are not sure where to begin or what your options are, hire an attorney today.