Divorce has been equated to passing a kidney stone. It hurts like crazy, it takes what seems like forever to pass, and it inevitably results in an enormous bill. That is certainly true of a traditional litigated divorce.
Luckily, divorcing couples don’t have to litigate. These days, we have several alternative dispute resolution options at our disposal. One such option is a Collaborative Divorce, which requires both parties and their respective attorneys to commit themselves to resolving their differences without court involvement.
A couple opting for a Collaborative Divorce makes the choice to resolve their disputes in a respectful way in a safe and transparent environment. The process is successful because Collaborative attorneys are trained to listen to both parties’ needs and interests, and to focus on those needs and interests to help the couple craft creative resolutions that work for their family as a whole.
Collaborative attorneys are supported in this task by specially trained financial neutrals, divorce coaches, and child specialists, operating as a team. Financial neutrals evaluate the parties’ financial situation and ensure transparency and accountability. Divorce coaches help contain conflict during the divorce process by teaching the parties how to communicate in a respectful and honest manner. Child specialists are instrumental in developing effective co-parenting relationships and creating parenting plans designed to meet children’s developmental needs.
Hiring all these professionals may sound expensive, but the reality is that the total cost of working with a Collaborative team is usually far less than the exorbitant cost of litigation. In litigation parties spend large sums of money on interim support motions, the preparation of formal discovery requests, depositions, time sitting around in the courthouse waiting for a judge, and the testimony of dueling financial experts. The worst part is that despite all of the money spent, the end result handed down by a stranger in a black robe may still be undesirable.
Each member of the Collaborative team assists the divorcing couple in reaching fair and sustainable solutions. The Collaborative team recognizes that understanding each other’s needs and interests reduces a couple’s fear and facilitates satisfactory settlements. This is in stark contrast to the traditional litigated divorce which often inflames hostility that leads to suspicion and mistrust, making settlement near impossible.
Divorce will always hurt, nobody can take the pain away. However, by skillfully guiding clients through a Collaborative Divorce, the Collaborative team can help divorcing couples to at least control the timeline and the money they spend on the divorce process. It is the Collaborative professionals’ goal to steer clients though the divorce with as much of their dignity, assets, and sanity intact as possible.