In contrast to the hostilities, polarization and demands often present with traditional divorce, Collaborative Law can be a breath of fresh air. It is different from the adversarial court-based system in the following respects:
- Lawyers’ total focus is to reach a divorce settlement.
- Parties’ reasonable needs and interests, and those of their children, are considered as well as the applicable law.
- Collaborative Divorce is designed to minimize conflict and stress, protect children, reduce escalating divorce costs and preserve the marital estate.
- Collaborative professionals’ goal is to contain the conflict, not inflame it.
- Collaborative Divorce eliminates the risks of litigation, the importance of which is expressed in the following quote from Abraham Lincoln: Discourage litigation. Persuade neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out how the nominal winner is often the real loser in fees, expenses and waste of time. As a peacemaker, the lawyer has a superior opportunity of becoming a good man [sic (or woman)].
- It’s private settlement conferences occur in the lawyers’ private offices instead of a public courtroom.
- The divorcing couple remains in control of the outcome instead of putting their fate in the hands of a stranger in a black robe.
Traditional Ways of Divorcing
Collaborative Law is an innovative way of divorcing, developed as more and more couples have sought a respectful, non-adversarial process. Divorce is an individual matter, however, and the traditional forms of divorce may be more appropriate for some couples. The best choice is made when you are aware of all of your options, including Mediation and Litigation.
Divorce mediation is a voluntary process where divorcing couples work together with a trained mediator to negotiate and resolve their differences in a non-adversarial forum. In mediation, no one decides who is right and who is wrong, or who wins and who loses. The mediator facilitates communication and helps you to clarify and articulate particular needs and interests and then to assist the parties in creating and evaluating options. Read More
In some situations, divorcing couples are unable to resolve matters through mediation or collaborative law or through negotiations. Such matters must be litigated. Although litigation is the costliest and often the least efficient way of proceeding, it is sometimes the only option. Read More