How can I determine if collaborative law divorce is right for me?

On behalf of Leigh Ballenger Sellers for Krusch Law, PLLC.

Divorcing couples have options other than the traditional courtroom model. Collaborative divorce is a team approach where the parties work together and negotiate to reach an agreed upon solution.

Facing the prospect of divorce can be daunting for many couples. The time, expense and adversarial nature of a divorce trial is not appealing to many separated spouses. Marriages end for a variety of reasons, and for those who are able to end their union through open communication and negotiation, collaborative law may be a viable and beneficial option.

Collaborative law has been growing in popularity in recent years as an alternative to court for many divorcing couples, but it is not the best choice for everyone. When considering collaborative divorce, it is important to understand what to expect during the process itself and also the goals of the divorce, terms that must be negotiated and likelihood of open communication. This may be done by considering some common questions.

Common questions: collaborative law divorce

Who will be a part of the collaborative divorce process?

Couples seeking to dissolve their marriage through collaborative law will be involved in a series of meetings consisting of each spouse and his or her collaborative lawyer.

Depending on the circumstances, additional experts may be present to suggest solutions and assist the spouses in their negotiations to reach an agreement. The composition of the collaborative team will depend on the situation and what type of team is the best fit for the family.

What are the benefits of a collaborative divorce?

Collaborative divorce can be beneficial in many ways, including:

Couples can stay out of the courtroom and reach an agreement on their own terms.
Family finances stay private and are not a part of public record.
Children are kept out of the litigation process and the stress of knowing some stranger is going to tell them where to live.
Goals are identified and reached through open communication and negotiation between the spouses.
Experts and coaches are available to help spouses reach an agreement instead of a decision being handed down by the court.
Collaborative divorce is often more cost effective than a traditional divorce. It depends on a variety of factors including the complexity of the situation, number of meetings and team members or advisors involved. However, the collaborative process is generally less expensive than costly court proceedings, according to the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP).
Are there situations where a collaborative divorce may not the best option?

There are situations where Collaborative Divorce might not be advantageous to parties in certain circumstances, including:

When one spouse is not proceeding in good faith and will not likely cooperate with the disclosure and negotiation process.
When one spouse has uses intimidation or undue influence over the other spouse and might still wish to stay out of Court in hopes of continuing to pressure for a “win” instead of reaching a mutual agreement.
When one spouse is prone to physical or emotional violence or suffers from any mental disabilities putting him or her at a disadvantage.
What if the collaborative process doesn’t work?

If parties cannot reach an agreement, the spouses WILL be faced with hiring new attorneys and pursuing a traditional divorce in court, which places additional financial and emotional costs on the couple. This part of a Collaborative Agreement is necessary to ensure that both parties are “all in” for the Collaborative Process. Knowing that you must keep working and trying, prevents parties from throwing up their hands and just deciding to let a Judge decide. However, in some situations, the attorneys will add a paragraph allowing for binding arbitration or mediation if there is a impasse as to any issue or issues.

If you and your spouse have considered collaborative law and have determined that it is the might be a good fit for your family, it is important to discuss the process in more detail with a trained Collaborative Law Attorney . Contact an attorney at Krusch Law, PLLC to help answer your questions, support you through the process and help you conclude this chapter of your life with dignity and respect. Call Krusch Law, PLLC today at 704-556-0707 to discuss collaborative law as an alternative to a traditional divorce.