As it’s quickly becoming one of the most well-documented and sought-after forms of collaborative law, it is important to pause and truly consider what is meant by the term “collaborative divorce.”
Here’s our take on this expansive issue, and the key aspects to better understanding both the risks and the rewards proceeding along a path that uses a collaborative attorney to help you resolve your divorce.
What does it mean to collaborate?
Before we dig in to the heart of this approach to divorce, let’s remember the core idea behind the word collaboration. Simply put, it is an action focused on working with another party to produce or create a result that is acceptable to all parties involved.
Sounds easy, right? Well, collaboration can be a challenge when personalities conflict, when there is a large measure of “standoffish” behavior, or an unwillingness to focus on the kind of compromise and negotiation needed for a satisfactory result.
What is collaborative divorce?
In simple terms, collaborative divorce is a process in which a married couple separates amicably with legal help.
The way it works is that both parties are represented by a collaborative divorce attorney. Together, they work together to create a settlement rather than “fighting” over things in court.
Each party is expected to agree to a binding result, the open sharing of information and a willingness to engage and fair and honest settlement discussions. This creates a “win-win” approach, rather than having one winner and one loser.
What are the benefits of this approach?
Besides reducing the potential for ongoing conflict during the settlement process, time and the legal costs can often be better controlled. That’s done because the couple shows a willingness to enter into a temporary agreement right away and to cooperatively share needed information.
Simplifying the divorce process also helps to create arrangements that work better in the long term. This helps minimize issues post-divorce.
Frankly, the collaborative divorce approach can also create an atmosphere of trust, dignity and fairness that is not always present in family conflict.
Are there risks?
The collaborative divorce approach doesn’t work for everyone.
Divorces are often caused by very painful issues, such as differences in fundamental values or a betrayal of trust. Conflict stemming from this can limit the chances of success.
If the process fails, the attorneys must withdraw, and it is up to the couple to then determine how they wish to move forward. This is likely a divorce petition, court and mounting legal bills.
Bennett and Demopoulos can help
Ultimately, finding a legal process – and there are many options available – that works for you depends on your specific situation and needs.
If you need guidance on what collaborative divorce options are out there, remember that our team at Bennett & Demopoulos PLLC is skilled, experienced and aggressive. We are prepared to help you evaluate what works best for your circumstances.