Plenty of positive things can come from choosing the collaborative divorce process. For starters, it’s not a trial — which is a load off the minds of anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable going to court. It’s also a helpful platform for divorcing spouses who want to end their marriage amicably rather than battling tooth-and-nail through a contested divorce. But as is the case with anything, there are pros AND cons to collaborative divorce.
Below are a few pros to collaborative divorce:
- Eliminates the need to step into a courtroom
- Controlled conversations (less hostile of an environment)
- Lawyer assistance
- Possibly faster agreements
- More privacy
- Generally less expensive than a trial
- Both clients generally feel like they have some control of the process
- Less likelihood of post-divorce litigation
All conversations within a collaborative divorce setting take place with attorneys present in a neutral setting such as a conference room or office. Typically, an agenda can be created, and each issue is dealt with one by one. Depending on the circumstances, it may take one meeting to iron everything out or a series of negotiations. Once a settlement has been reached, everything will be put in writing and signed by both parties.
The list of cons to collaborative divorce isn’t nearly as long, but it’s worth noting.
- Both parties must agree to the process —The biggest piece to collaborative divorce is that you have to make sure it’s the right option for you and your spouse. If you agree to it, but your spouse feels like they are forced into it, negotiations can break down quickly and result in a trip to court.
- It’s still expensive — While collaborative divorce can be less expensive than a contested divorce, it’s still money out of pocket. On top of that, keep in mind that if your divorce becomes contested, the attorneys who were part of the initial proceedings cannot represent either spouse. They were only brought in as advocates to help negotiate a settlement. You and your spouse would then need to hire new lawyers to represent your individual interests in court.
- You might get less — The idea behind collaborative divorce negotiations is to work out a fair settlement for both parties. In other words, you aren’t working against your spouse. This can lead to more compromising than what would typically come from a traditional divorce, and that may mean the assets are split more evenly. Depending on your goals, this may be viewed as a disadvantage.
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Source: Nelson Law Group