What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of divorce? If you’re like most people, the word conjures up images of a no-holds barred, bitter battle over the division of debts, assets, child custody and support. This image of divorce is so common it has almost become a cultural expectation. It is not surprising that divorce ranks only second to the death of a loved one as one of the most stressful events in one’s life. The emotional and financial impact of the adversarial divorce process can create bitterness that lingers for years to come.
Collaborative law is an alternative to litigated divorce that shifts the focus from winning to reaching a mutually agreed upon resolution in the best interest of everyone involved. And while collaborative law may not be right for everyone, in my experience it is usually the better option.
No Court Means Everybody Wins
The very nature and framework of the court system can sometimes foster an adversarial environment. From the moment the other spouse (defendant) is served with the Complaint for Divorce he or she is on the defensive. And while not every traditional divorce ends in an all out war, there is always the threat of court when negotiations break down. If a settlement can’t be reached a judge will end up making decisions for you. The uncertainty created by that loss of control can be overwhelming.
In the collaborative process both parties agree from the start to achieve a mutually agreeable settlement without court involvement. With the threat of court taken out of the equation, the spouses, with the help of their own attorneys and other experts, are able to work together to create an agreement that meets the needs of everyone. In collaborative law, you retain control over the process. You and your spouse are much better equipped to make decisions about the future of your children than a judge. Those who are successful with the collaborative process are also more likely to work out their differences in the future without resorting to the courts.
In collaborative divorce, both parties still hire their own attorneys but their attorneys are committed to helping them find common interests and creative solutions. The lawyers are there to help you weigh your options and make the best decisions for your family’s future.