Every year, hundreds of thousands of marriages end in divorce. Are you in this situation right now? Are you getting ready to hire a lawyer to help you with your case?
If so, before you make a decision on the process you are choosing for your divorce process, read on to learn more about the Collaborative approach to divorce and you will discover the benefits this process offers. When you are done reading this post you will see why so many divorcing couples choose the Collaborative process for their divorce.
What Is Collaborative Practice?
Collaborate practice is a process where trained professionals, including attorneys, help couples resolve their disputes without litigation and outside of court. Instead, those involved in the case approach the legal process through the lens of teamwork, trouble-shooting, and problem-solving rather than fighting to “beat” someone else. Another way of describing this process is rather than looking at a “win – lose” result, see it as a “”win-win” for all involved.
Essential to the Collaborative law methodology is the fact that both parties retain separate attorneys (it is a conflict of interest in the United States for the parties to be “represented” by one attorney). These attorneys (as well as other professionals that make up the Team) are responsible for helping those involved to settle their disputes in a respectful manner based on full disclosure, transparency, and good faith.
In a Collaborative case everyone agrees not to go to court for any contested matters. If this happens and one or both of the parties delegate their decision-making to a third party (like a Judge or Commissioner), the Collaborative law process is terminated and both attorneys are disqualified from working with either party outside the Collaborative Process. The reason for this disqualification provision is so both parties know that the attorneys are “all in”, and that neither can use the Collaborative process to get information about the other person to use outside the process.
Why Do People Choose A Collaborative Divorce Process?
There are lots of reasons why people choose the Collaborative process and hire a Collaborative attorney to assist them, including the following:
How many times have you talked to someone who is a child of a contentious divorce, or seen a friend or family member going through a divorce and their children suffer as a result of the acrimony? One time is too many. The Collaborative Process puts the children first, working with the parents to not put the children in the middle and allow the kids to be kids. When not kept at the forefront, children will struggle when their parents get divorced. The contentious nature of many divorces, especially when they involve time in a courtroom, is hard on their mental health and will likely have lasting effects.
A Collaborative divorce helps to protect children and makes it easier for their parents to have a strong co-parenting relationship. Collaborative cases also often include a child specialist who brings the “voice of the children” to the process, helping to mitigate their worries.
Privacy and Confidentiality
The Collaborative process is a confidential process, with a lot more privacy than the traditional divorce process.
When you choose a Collaborative divorce, neither party’s struggles will be played out and discussed in a public courtroom. Everything is kept private, including financial agreements, which reduces stress and long term negative impact, and makes the process easier for everyone involved.
Collaborative cases often get wrapped up much faster than traditional legal cases.
It’s not uncommon for divorce cases to take years to finalize, especially when it comes to dividing up assets and figuring out custody and child support issues. The Collaborative process is a defined, step by step process that is usually completed within four to eight months, allowing everyone to move on with their lives as quickly as possible.
Lower Costs / Higher Rewards
Finally, a Collaborative approach is typically much more cost-effective than other legal approaches. This may be counter-intuitive, that a Team approach to helping you get divorced will cost you less than the traditional divorce process. The fact is, however, that attorneys make money on creating conflict, which drives up the cost of anyone’s divorce process. When taking a Team approach, the parties work with experts on finances and parenting questions, while the attorneys step aside to allow other professionals to do their jobs while supporting their client through the process.
When considering costs it is also important to consider the high rewards that come with a Collaborative divorce. Any legal process is an investment, including a divorce. What would you pay to have a resolution that puts your children first and ends up in a strong co-parenting relationship with your ex-spouse? Or a financial resolution that ensures each of you is going to be “okay” and which incorporates as much of what each of you feels is important as possible? What if you can say at the end of the process that each of you can feel you were treated fairly by your ex-spouse and that you treated your ex-spouse fairly? What about a result that is so clear and well-thought out that any disagreements that arise in the future can be handled between the parties, rather than having to retain attorneys to return to the courtroom to get resolution?
In so many ways these rewards are indeed priceless.
Choose Collaborative Divorce
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to consider Collaborative practice. It will help you to peacefully resolve conflicts and move through the legal process as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.
Want to learn more about Collaborative practice? Contact us today at Seattle Collaborative Law Center to schedule a consultation.