Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative Divorce is an effective process that involves both partners working together with a team of legal, financial, and counseling professionals to achieve a lower cost, less traumatic and mutually beneficial agreement.

Divorce Alternative

Collaborative Divorce was established in 1990 as an alternative means of dispute resolution. It is now accepted as the best option in Family Law for couples interested in maintaining a good relationship in the face of mounting stresses.

Shorter, Less Expensive Divorce

While each side still retains their own counsel, divorce costs are significantly reduced by having fewer steps, lower court costs, and reduced fees. Unlike contested litigation, this approach works to protect relationships between spouses and, indeed, the entire family. The emphasis on working together rather than working against each other allows for resolution to be agreed upon rather than enforced.

Amicable and Fair Separation

By identifying the needs and goals of each party to the divorce and the impact of this separation on the couple and children, professionals with legal, financial, and counseling expertise work to ensure that both parties walk away from the table with as amicable and fair an agreement as possible.

Lessen the Trauma

A collaborative agreement is not the best solution for highly contentious divorces where each party is determined for victory whatever the cost. It is the ideal solution for couples who wish to retain some dignity and decorum in the midst of an otherwise potentially traumatic time of their lives.

Relying on which partner can procure the “best” attorney is a risk-laden route to deciding important facets of your post-married life.

Comparing Litigation and Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative

Litigation

Who Controls the Process

You and your spouse control the process and make final decision

Judge controls process and makes final decisions

Degree of Adversity

You and your spouse pledge mutual respect and openness.

Court process is based on an adversarial system

Cost

Costs are manageable, usually less expensive than litigation; team model is financially efficient in use of expert

Costs are unpredictable and can escalate rapidly including frequency of post-judgement litigation

Timetable

You and your spouse create the timetable

Judge sets the timetable: often delays given crowded court calendar

Use of Outside Experts

Jointly retained specialists provide information and guidance helping you and your spouse develop informed, mutually beneficial solution

Separate experts are hired to support the litigants’ positions, often at a great expense to each

Involvement of Lawyers

Your lawyers work toward a mutually created settlement

Lawyers fight to win, but someone will lose

Privacy

The process and discussion or negotiation details are kept private

Dispute becomes a matter of public record and sometimes media attention

Facilitation of Communication

Team of collaborative practice specialists educate and assist you and your spouse on how to effectively communicate with each other

No process designed to facilitate communication

Voluntary vs. Mandatory

Voluntary

Mandatory if no agreement

Lines of Communication

You and your spouse communicate directly with the assistance of members of your team

You and your spouse negotiate through your lawyers

Court involvement

Outside court

Court-based

Who Controls the Process

Collaborative:
You and your spouse control the process and make final decision

Litigation:
Judge controls process and makes final decisions

Degree of Adversity

Collaborative:
You and your spouse pledge mutual respect and openness.

Litigation:
Court process is based on an adversarial system

Cost

Collaborative:
Costs are manageable, usually less expensive than litigation; team model is financially efficient in use of expert

Litigation:
Costs are unpredictable and can escalate rapidly including frequency of post-judgement litigation

Timetable

Collaborative:
You and your spouse create the timetable

Litigation:
Judge sets the timetable: often delays given crowded court calendar

Use of Outside Experts

Collaborative:
Jointly retained specialists provide information and guidance helping you and your spouse develop informed, mutually beneficial solution

Litigation:
Separate experts are hired to support the litigants’ positions, often at a great expense to each

Involvement of Lawyers

Collaborative:
Your lawyers work toward a mutually created settlement

Litigation:
Lawyers fight to win, but someone will lose

Privacy

Collaborative:
The process and discussion or negotiation details are kept private

Litigation:
Dispute becomes a matter of public record and sometimes media attention

Facilitation of Communication

Collaborative:
Team of collaborative practice specialists educate and assist you and your spouse on how to effectively communicate with each other

Litigation:
No process designed to facilitate communication

Voluntary vs. Mandatory

Collaborative:
Voluntary

Litigation:
Mandatory if no agreement

Lines of Communication

Collaborative:
You and your spouse communicate directly with the assistance of members of your team

Litigation:
You and your spouse negotiate through your lawyers

Court involvement

Collaborative:
Outside court

Litigation:
Court-based