Divorce can produce anxiety and stress for all parties involved. Collaborative divorce, which is one of the newest methods of alternative dispute resolution in family law, offers an alternative to adversarial settlements. This process involves both parties entering into an agreement to assist the clients to resolve conflict by using cooperation as opposed to litigation. This collaborative divorce process does not necessarily mean that each party agrees on all issues, but it does require that everyone involved is committed to negotiation in which an acceptable settlement agreement is found to resolve remaining disputes.
How does the collaborative divorce process work?
A collaborative divorce process begins when each client enters into an agreement with a specially trained attorney in order to negotiate a settlement. The clients also have the potential to meet with child custody specialists and accountants for additional support. The agreement usually stipulates that the matters will be settled in a non-adversarial manner and may require each attorney to withdraw from the case if a settlement is not reached and the clients bring one another to court. The process creates an environment in which all parties can sit down in meetings together and explore the matters using negotiation, as well as their own thoughts and feelings. Once an agreement is reached between the parties on the matters of divorce, no trial or litigation is necessary and the divorce is settled.
What are the benefits of collaborative divorce?
There are tangible benefits to participating in a collaborative process, including cutting back on conflict and expenses when navigating divorce. Although collaborative divorce is not suited for everyone, it does help the participating parties to stay out of court and end the relationship as peacefully as possible. The process puts control back in the hands of each client and reduces the stress and emotional pain that often accompanies divorce.
What are the drawbacks of collaborative divorce?
Although there are many tangible benefits to collaborative divorce, including the potential to cut down on expenses and simplify the process, there are also some drawbacks to the process. The process acts against conventional ideas about the role of a lawyer. For example, critics have mentioned that in a typical divorce an attorney is responsible for the interests of their client; however, in collaborative divorce one may have divided loyalties in order to find the most suitable settlement based on negotiation. In addition, attorneys find that the collaborative divorce process can be more expensive than mediation, but less expensive than litigation.
Participating in a collaborative divorce process does not mean you are required to reach a settlement. In fact, your collaborative lawyers have the ability to withdraw from your case if each party cannot reach an agreement and you are free to find a trial attorney in order to settle the divorce in court. You can even settle some of the matters through the collaborative process and the rest in court. A collaborative divorce will ultimately help you to navigate ending your relationship without the stress of litigation.