Collaborative Law Divorce – How Do You Know if It Is Right for You?

on Dec 12, 2017 in Divorce

Once you have made the difficult decision to divorce, it next becomes time to determine how to divorce.  Believe it or not, you have several options.  One of your many options is choosing a collaborative law attorney to assist you in your divorce.  Collaborative law is not an approach suitable for all divorces.  However, in the right case, a collaborative law divorce can save you time, money, and heartache, as well as the uncertainty that comes with litigation.  How do you know if collaborative law is right for you?

A Collaborative Law Divorce May be Appropriate if You Are Not Interested in Litigation

In certain divorce cases, litigation is, or appears early on to be the only option.  If you and your spouse cannot agree on anything, from who has the children when, to what religion they should be raised in, to who will keep the house (or whether one of you will keep the house), to who’s grandmother originally owned the china set in the dining room china cabinet, litigation may be your only option.  On the other hand, if many, or most issues are resolved, or appear to be resolvable, you may want to consider a collaborative law divorce.  Lawyers who participate in collaborative law divorces commit to the process.  In part, this means they will not handle your divorce if you ultimately end up in court litigating issues in your divorce.

A Collaborative Law Divorce May be Appropriate if You and Your Spouse are Not Seeking to Be Difficult Just for the Sake of Being Difficult

If one or both of you wants to drag the proceedings out, just to punish the other spouse, a collaborative law divorce is not the right option for you.  Part of committing to the collaborative law divorce process includes a commitment by both parties to work together, along with their lawyers.  If your intention is to challenge each other at every turn, a collaborative law divorce isn’t for you.  Collaborative law divorces require coming together to discuss issues and areas of concern, with the goal of reaching a mutually satisfying resolution.

A Collaborative Law Divorce May be Appropriate if You and Your Spouse Can Talk Openly About Your Finances

Rather than each side hiring their own financial expert to review assets, debts, and evaluate retirement accounts, develop business valuations, and consider past, present, and future stock options, in a collaborative divorce, the parties hire a single expert.  This expert performs the functions typically performed by the two sides separately.  This prevents the duplication of efforts the litigation model embraces.  This, of course, saves time and money.  It ensures everyone is on the same financial page.  This allows the couple, along with their lawyers, to discuss their current financial situation openly and candidly.  Thus, they can make choices that are best for them and their family going forward.

A Collaborative Law Divorce May be Appropriate Even if You and Your Spouse Are Currently Experiencing Significant Conflict

A collaborative law divorce is not the best approach for all couples.  However, many people are surprised to learn a collaborative law divorce is an option for those who have high levels of conflict.  Additionally, couples who don’t communicate well may also benefit from a collaborative approach.  The question is not where the couple is, but rather, what the couple is willing to do.  If both parties agree and commit to trying to find a peaceful resolution, rather than litigating the issues, a collaborative law divorce can work, with the guidance of collaborative law attorneys committed to your success.

Understanding How a Collaborative Law Divorce Works

The term “collaborative law” references a specific approach to conflict resolution.  Rather than approaching a divorce with a winner takes all, fight to the death, winners and losers approach to divorce, the parties agree to engage in problem-solving, brainstorming, and troubleshooting, in order to address all issues in the divorce proceedings.

Unlike in the courtroom, collaborative law divorces take place in an informal setting.  Collaborative law divorce communications are unlike the traditional direct and cross-examination that occurs in courtrooms.  In collaborative law divorces, the parties exchange information freely, in an open and honest format.  Collaborative law divorces save time and money.  They also give the parties a voice, allowing for give and take, and discussion with the ultimate goal being a peaceful resolution of the issues of the parties.

Parties that choose collaborative law divorce commit to staying out of court.  Some couples later decide to litigate one or more divorce issues in court.   In that case, the attorneys participating in the collaborative law divorce will not represent the parties in litigation.

Collaborative law divorce attorneys are specially trained in the collaborative law process.  At Fait & DiLima, Partner Marjorie DiLima is a member of both the Collaborative Divorce Association and Collaborative Dispute Resolution Professionals.  Ms. DiLima uses client-centered conflict resolution.

If You and Your Spouse Have Decided to Divorce

Once you decide divorce is the right decision for you and your family, it is time to decide how you want to divorce.  If both you and your spouse are committed to a peaceful resolution, a collaborative law divorce might be just the solution for your family.  A collaborative law divorce addresses such issues as:

  • property division;
  • assets and debts;
  • child support;
  • parenting time; and
  • the question of alimony – just like any other method of divorce.

If you are uncertain whether collaborative law divorce is right for you, contact us.  At Fait & DiLima, we are happy to meet with you and discuss your divorce options.  We offer mediation, litigation, and collaborative law options, as well as old fashioned negotiation.  We have the experience and the staff to provide you with exactly the services you need.

Contact us today to set up a consultation at 301-251-0100.