When we say “divorce”, the most familiar scenario is both parties with their own attorneys arguing their own sides about who gets the house, who takes over the business, who keeps which things, and on and on. This is called a normal or litigated divorce. But although this is the most common divorce proceeding, there is another option: the Collaborative Divorce.
In a lot of ways, a collaborative divorce is similar to the usual procedure. Each party hires an attorney and files their papers in the proper family court. However, there are key distinctions between the two.
Collaborative Divorce vs. Litigated Divorce
The main difference is that in collaborative divorce, the process is entirely outside of the courtroom. The parties do not see the judge nor litigate their divorce. Instead, they sign a collaborative divorce agreement in which they commit to doing the process entirely inside the conference room. The parties and their respective attorneys will hold a series of meetings to try to work out all the contested issues.
Although the parties never go to court, the process is still a professional and legitimate one. So each spouse can hire outside help, such as business valuation experts, financial experts, custody professionals, if child custody issues are contested, etc.
What if the parties decide to go to court?
At any time during the collaborative divorce process, the parties may wish to go to court. This mostly happens when one spouse isn’t cooperating, or they feel that they cannot resolve issues without a judge.
Should one or both parties decide to go to court, they have to repeat the entire divorce process and hire new attorneys who did not sign the collaborative divorce agreement.
Benefits of a Collaborative Divorce
A collaborative divorce is a very beneficial thing for both parties. They are more focused on resolving issues and completing the process and tend to be more productive. This is compared to a heated litigation where both parties are angry with each other and have to appear in court to discuss the details of their marriage.
A collaborative divorce can make a quieter and more comfortable environment for both spouses. It fosters communication, understanding, and dispute resolution without the added pressure of being in the courtroom.