Unique Aspects of Collaborative Divorce: an Attorney’s Perspective

collaborative divorceImagine a typical courtroom divorce scene: attorneys battling it out, emotions running high, the outcome of the hearing as unpredictable as who will win the next World Series. If you are facing a divorce, this image alone might be enough to discourage you. The good news is that you have options. Collaborative divorce offers more control over the outcome of a divorce and can be more civilized – especially for clients who are determined to find the best solution for their family in the long run.

The basics of collaborative divorce

Here is a simple outline of how collaborative divorce works.

  1. Each spouse has an attorney who advocates for them. Each attorney represents his or her client’s interests diligently and firmly – but without the animosity of the courtroom battle. Attorneys work together to find the best solution for the family on every issue, from co-parenting to property division, but their primary duty is to their clients.
  2. Neutral professionals support the process. It is common to have a financial planner and communications facilitator involved, because money issues are central to many divorces – and emotions can cloud people’s better judgment. Because these professionals are neutral, they can support both spouses and the rest of the collaborative divorce team at a fraction of the cost of having a financial planner and a communications facilitator dedicated to each spouse.
  3. The professional team has received specialized collaborative divorce training. That makes each professional uniquely suited to manage the emotional and technical dynamics of the divorce and co-create an agreement that will work in the long run.

A question I often get from my clients is, “Why wouldn’t I just hire a regular attorney – aren’t they better at fighting for me?” The answer is that collaborative divorce attorneys are just as good at litigation. They simply choose to work in a collaborative setting because they believe it can offer more options and dignity to their clients. After you have seen litigation clients walk away from the courtroom barely hanging on, or with an agreement that does not address their circumstances, you begin to look for a different way. For some clients, collaborative law can create a better result.

Image credit: http://diamondanddiamond.com/files/bigstock/2014/08/Wedding-Fury-Couple-Yelling-R-51987220.jpg

About Amy Banks

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