Many people draw their knowledge of the divorce process from the silver screen, where contentious in-court battles leave both parties bitter and estranged.
Truthfully, a minority of divorces end in the courtroom. Instead, couples often elect to use a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) like collaborative divorce to dissolve their marriage.
Going through a collaborative divorce has a myriad of benefits for divorcees. Today, we're covering why you should look into collaborative divorce.
What Is Collaborative Divorce?
In a collaborative divorce, both parties hire an attorney. Those attorneys then work with each other and their clients to negotiate terms for the divorce over several meetings.
In a collaborative divorce, the attorneys try and help their clients establish equitable, mutually beneficial terms for their divorce. That makes collaborative divorce much less combative than a traditional, contested in-court divorce in which the attorneys are not as concerned about facilitating a compromise between the divorcees.
Typically, each meeting covers a different part of the divorce process (child custody and support, alimony, property division, etc.). Other professionals may also play a role in a collaborative divorce.
For example, the attorneys may bring a certified public accountant (CPA) on board to help the clients assess the value of their assets and liabilities during the property division process. It's also common for divorcees to work with family counselors while navigating the child custody and support process to maintain a healthy family dynamic throughout the divorce.
Now, let's discuss some of the benefits of collaborative divorce.
A Collaborative Divorce Is More Cost-Effective Than Battling it out in Court
In California, the average divorce costs around $17,500. For contested divorces in which spouses adamantly disagree on the terms of the divorce and engage in a drawn-out divorce battle, or in situations where couples share children, that cost can easily double or triple.
Needless to say, for many spouses, divorce is a significant investment. But is it an investment you should make? For most divorcees, the tens of thousands spent on divorce would be more helpful going toward housing or a similar expense.
Like mediation, collaborative divorce is often a far less expensive alternative to an in-court divorce. Collaborative divorces don't involve in-court hearings like a traditional contested divorce, which drastically cuts down on the costs.
Additionally, since collaborative divorce is about helping two spouses negotiate equitable terms for the dissolution of their marriage, the process is often shorter than an in-court divorce. Attorneys also typically charge less to represent divorcees in a collaborative divorce than an in-court divorce, since collaborative divorces are less combative and require less of a time investment from the lawyer. All of these factors greatly reduce the cost of a collaborative divorce, especially compared to a traditional divorce in court.
Collaborative Divorce Is Less Stressful than an in-Court Divorce
Because the focus of a collaborative divorce is on helping the parties come to a mutually beneficial divorce arrangement, it's inherently less stressful (and combative) than an in-court divorce, where divorcees are often at each other's throats.
If you want to maintain a positive relationship with your soon-to-be-ex moving past your marriage, collaborative divorce can help you achieve that goal.
More importantly, engaging in a collaborative divorce makes it easier to stay mentally and physically healthy during your divorce by reducing the emotional turmoil of the process. That's important because it helps you lay the best foundation for your life moving past the divorce. Collaborative divorce can give you the fresh start you need.
Collaborative Divorce Is more Legally Secure than Mediation
Mediation is another popular form of ADR, and it's a fantastic option for many couples. However, in mediation, the mediator cannot give legal advice. To obtain counsel during mediation, you must hire your own mediation attorney.
Because both parties have a dedicated attorney during a collaborative divorce—and those attorneys are the individuals facilitating the compromise—collaborative divorce can be more legally secure or protective than mediation. That makes it a great tool for individuals who want to remain amicable with their soon-to-be-ex while simultaneously securing their own best interests.
At Family Law San Diego, we're proud to offer collaborative divorce services to our clients.
For help with your collaborative divorce, contact us online or via phone at (619) 577-4900.