When many think about the idea of a collaborative divorce, they can wonder about the benefits of trying to resolve a case collaboratively. Some can even contemplate the idea of two collaborative lawyers and the professionals that can help (mental health and financial professionals) can can wonder if all of that is needed.
Some might also worry potentially about the cost of having a team of collaborative professionals assist. Some might think that it might not be necessary.
However, the reality is for a divorce or family law case to settle outside of court, there needs to be a complete agreement on all issues at stake. For example, in a divorce with kids, parties would need to agree on marital property and debt division, child custody, child support, spousal maintenance and attorney’s fees.
For a lot of parties, they might agree on several of those items. But there might be one or more areas where the parties do not agree.
Generally, when that is the case, parties can end up litigating their case. When parties litigate, they might send written discovery (interrogatories and requests for production). They might take depositions. Expert witnesses might need to be hired. Then, a trial ultimately will have to take place.
In some cases, after the trial, one party is still unhappy. That can result in an appeal. It might result in later motions to modify and motions for contempt.
At the end of the day, parties do need to contemplate whether they can realistically resolve their case collaboratively. But resolving a case collaboratively can have a tangible benefit.
That tangible benefit might be avoiding future litigation. It might help ensure a trial isn’t needed. It might help ensure all the costs of litigation are not needed. It might result in the parties both being generally happy with the result such that later motions to modify and contempt do not take place.
For many parties, the tangible benefits of a collaborative divorce versus a litigated divorce make it worth considering. Collaborative divorce does create the potential for a win-win outcome versus a win-lose outcome.