Should I Have a Collaborative Divorce?

For couples facing separation, the divorce process doesn’t have to be a stressful, contentious battle. You have the option of going through a collaborative divorce. This is an alternative approach where both parties work together to reach an agreement outside of court.

By working collaboratively, spouses can decrease their emotional strain. Ending the marriage is hard enough, so finding agreeable solutions can lighten an already heavy load.

Here is a broad exploration of collaborative divorces. This information can help you decide if the process is right for you.

An Overview of Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative divorce is significantly different from a traditional divorce. Both parties have legal representatives, and everyone works together. The goal is to reach a resolution that meets everyone’s needs and goals.

During the process, you will discuss issues such as child custody arrangements, division of assets, and spousal support.

The tone of a collaborative divorce is cooperative and respectful. In a courtroom divorce, spouses tend to descend into bitter, contentious battles. Collaborative divorce allows both parties to maintain a level of control and autonomy over the process. Everyone can express themselves, and everyone works together on solutions. The process values cooperation and compromise, and it can help to minimize the emotional and financial costs associated with a traditional divorce.

The Cost of a Collaborative Divorce

When you go to court, you pay for every aspect of the trial. Your attorney must investigate each claim, no matter how off base, and craft a counterargument. You also must pay for your time in court. In many cases, one person must pay everyone’s legal bills. This can lead to “churning,” an unscrupulous practice where attorneys keep introducing new claims just to prolong the trial and make more money.

Choosing a collaborative divorce means avoiding court appearances and reducing legal costs. Each spouse has their own attorney. The time with these attorneys, however, is much smaller. You each meet with your attorney to voice your needs, then everyone meets to hash out the details. You can also bring in experts like financial professionals and child psychologists. The process can be expensive, but it usually costs less than a contentious courtroom trial.

Collaborative divorce is also quicker and less tedious than divorce litigation. You attend a few meetings, make your agreements, and move on.

Suggestions for an Easy, Successful Collaborative Divorce

  • Keep a level head and avoid emotional outbursts. Doing so fosters a more productive, respectful negotiation.
  • Choose the right approach. Work with your attorney early on to decide how the process should go and what the “rules” will be.
  • Communication is key. Take time to understand your partner's needs and concerns. Remember, you are working together for a mutually beneficial outcome.
  • Remember that compromise is essential, and remain flexible and willing to find common ground. You may not get everything you want, but you can still rest easy knowing that you agreed to decisions. In a collaborative divorce, no one is forcing anything on you.

Law Offices Of Mark M. Childress is ready to step in and help with your collaborative divorce. We can also suggest other attorneys to join in and help with negotiations. If you’re ready to end your marriage amicably, call our office at (817) 497-8148 for a free consultation. You can also contact us online.