Advantages of Collaborative
The process is generally less costly than
The lawyers share with their clients a financial
incentive to make the collaborative process work.
The lawyers have not succeeded unless they help
their clients create a win-win solution. In the
adversarial process, much of the community estate
can end up with the lawyers.
The process is generally less time-consuming
If careful attention is paid to the tried and
true stages of the process, it will be completed in
a well-scripted and timely fashion, often within 4-6
meetings. Compare this to a litigated divorce which
can take as long as one year (or more) to complete.
A climate of cooperation reduces the stress that
accompanies any divorce
The Principles and Guidelines for the Practice of
Collaborative Divorce provide a common set of rules
that each spouse, attorney, and any other
participant, must agree to follow in good faith in
carrying out the Collaborative Law process. These
Guidelines are intended to eliminate the kind of
insensitive conduct and practices aimed at
exploiting the weaknesses of the other side that too
often occur in the adversarial setting. In
Collaborative Divorce all participants provide an
open, honest exchange of information. Neither takes
advantage of the other or of the miscalculations or
inadvertent mistakes of others, but instead
identifies and corrects them. Part of the attorneys’
responsibility is to hold the divorcing couple to
their commitments in this regard.
Each party has the assistance of counsel
Because so much is at stake when people seek to
dissolve a marriage, and because Family Law has
become so complex, most people find they cannot or
do not want to represent themselves, and need the
help of attorneys. At the same time, they recognize
that the traditional adversarial legal system can be
very expensive, often moves slowly, is open to the
public, and often involves discord between the
attorneys that can distance the two parties even
further by magnifying disagreements and compounding
conflict. Collaborative Divorce is designed to
provide the benefits of attorney assistance while
avoiding the negative atmosphere of litigation.
Each party is a vital part of the settlement
The "opposing counsel" and "opposing party" are
treated as vital parts of the settlement team, not
adversaries. Attorney-counselor assistance is
available for advice and information throughout the
process. This may include additional assistance from
child psychologists, advisers, accountants,
therapists, actuaries, appraisers, and virtually
anyone with special expertise to assist a party or
provide information helpful to the negotiations.
Power imbalances are equalized because each side has
equal support and negotiations are conducted openly
and informally with all participants present.
The team can focus on settlement without the
imminent threat of "going to court"
In Collaborative Divorce a respectful, creative
effort to meet the legitimate needs of both spouses
replaces tactical bargaining backed by threats of
litigation. The extreme “positions” typically
expressed in court pleadings and hearings are not a
part of Collaborative Divorce.
The client controls the proceedings
Judges decide the issues in a litigated divorce.
And a judge
simply cannot understand the
complexities and nuances of a family’s situation
after hearing the limited information presented in
even a one or two day trial. In the Collaborative
Divorce process, the resolution of the issues is in
the clients' hands, rather than a disinterested and
often not very well-briefed third party (the judge).
Additionally, the judge has limited tools with which
to solve the issues. Often in litigation, the judge
is unable to take into consideration a factor which
is crucial to the long-term well being of the
family. The collaborative process leaves the
decision-making power with the participants, without
constraining their creativity or the options they
have to solve their own problems.
WHAT HAPPENS IF SETTLEMENT CANNOT BE REACHED?
In the event you are unable to arrive at a
settlement, your collaborative lawyers will withdraw
from your case, and you are free to retain trial
attorneys to pursue your matter in court.
Even if you settle only some of the issues
through the collaborative process, trial on those
remaining should be less time consuming and less