Over the last several years, many couples have opted for more cooperative methods when it comes to dealing with family matters. If you are considering divorce, you may have come across the collaborative divorce model.
Generally, the principle behind collaborative divorce is that it is better for two individuals to resolve their issues among themselves and in an informal manner, as opposed to leaving it all up to a judge who is a stranger to both parties and who may make decisions after hearing just a few hours’ worth of testimonies.
After taking into account that collaboration is to be expected in any divorce, should a couple take it a step further and use the collaborative divorce model? Here are some pros and cons:
- It is a less hostile solution.
One of the primary advantages of collaborative divorce is that both parties can control the outcome in a civilized manner and by means of reasonable negotiations. By avoiding litigation, you eliminate unethical courtroom tactics and strategies such as false claims, and embellishments typically used to influence the presiding judge’s opinion.
- It is more confidential.
With divorce litigation, the court is required to keep a public record, and for the most part, it conducts trials and hearings in open session. With collaborative divorce, parties can keep their lives private. Since you are working together with your spouse to arrive at an agreement, you are less inclined to engage in mudslinging and humiliating each other with stories, rumors, and accusations.
- Solutions are more customized.
Due to the sheer number of divorce cases they handle, judges are often unable to arrive at customized settlements for everyone. Since parties resolve their issues on their own in a collaborative divorce, the spouses can craft unique solutions that work best for the entire family. Also, there are numerous possible outcomes that can be agreed upon in a collaborative divorce. In divorce litigation, there is only one outcome—and that is whatever the judge decides on.
- It provides you with the support you need.
During a collaborative divorce, the couple works together with qualified professionals to discuss and resolve all issues that typically arise in divorce proceedings, particularly those associated with financial issues, legal issues, and child custody considerations. Such outside professionals include child psychologists, financial planners, and real estate brokers. Of course, you may choose to only work with the professionals that are relevant to your case.
- How long the process takes is up to you.
In a collaborative divorce, how quickly or slowly the process takes is up to the parties involved. If the parties are overwhelmed, they may opt to slow the process down without pressure from the court. If they wish to speed things up, they can arrange to meet more often.
- It is costly.
Collaborative divorce should not be confused with divorce mediation, though often less expensive than divorce litigation, collaborative divorce isn’t exactly the cheapest option available. After all, you will need to pay for the time of all the professionals involved in your case. The more time and effort it takes to arrive at an agreement, the more the case will cost.
- It is a voluntary process.
Collaborative divorce is voluntary, which means that it will only work if both parties agree to participate and cooperate. If one spouse does not wish to participate in collaborative divorce, there is nothing you can do about it.
- Trust is a key factor.
In a collaborative divorce, couples must trust that the other spouse is fully disclosing their financial information and is communicating about all issues in an honest manner. For many couples who are divorcing, communicating in such an open manner may be extremely difficult to do.
- It does not guarantee a successful outcome.
The possibility of divorce litigation is not completely off the table, as there are no guarantees that the collaborative process will work. If the collaborative divorce efforts fail, then the couple may still find themselves settling the divorce in the courtroom.
- If unsuccessful, you may need to start over.
Unfortunately, most collaborative divorce contracts state that you hire new attorneys for a court process. This means having to start over from the very beginning of standard divorce proceedings, as well as having to pay for more lawyers if one party does not want to settle.
Though certainly not for everyone, collaborative divorce is one option to take into consideration—especially because both spouses (as opposed to a Judge) can take an active role in deciding on matters involving equitable distribution, child custody, child support, and alimony.
If you have questions about the choosing the right divorce process for you in Colorado then don’t hesitate to contact us. We can explain the difference between collaborative divorce, divorce mediation and litigated divorce and determine the best option for you given your specific situation.