Benefits of the Collaborative Process
There are many procedural, substantive, and emotional benefits to using collaborative practice over traditional litigation for divorce or family law matters. it is client-centered and interest-based approach; it gives couples the power versus a judge; it promotes fair dealing, problem solving and transparency among the parties; and it is helpful if there are children involved because it helps keep them out of the middle.
Further, the process can help where there are communication difficulties. It can actually teach parties how to communicate more effectively so that co-parenting can happen. While not always true, the process generally tends to be less expensive compared to that of a lengthy litigated divorce or family law matter as parties involved in the collaborative process generally tend to result in a settlement versus a trial and later motions to modify and motions for contempt.
The collaborative process allows for non-traditional solutions by allowing the parties to put together a resolution crafted to their own needs and through the help of professionals. Both parties can also communicate their comments and concerns about the topics being addressed in the divorce or family law matter.
An additional benefit of the collaborative process is that it minimizes conflict with the presence of professionals who can help ensure that cooler heads will prevail. This can help reduce parental conflict, which tends to have negative effects on the the kids.
In the collaborative process, the parties try to settle outside of court. This cuts down on preparation and court costs. Parties can also achieve results at a more convenient schedule for themselves versus it revolving around the court’s calendar.
Another added positive of the collaborative process is privacy. The meetings during the collaborative process usually take place at one of the collaborative lawyer’s office, allowing the individuals involved to maintain their privacy versus being seen in a courtroom.
Each party in the collaborative process has an attorney who is with them throughout the process. This is opposite of mediation where attorneys are generally not always present in the room with the mediator. While mediation might be more popular, the details often hang-up settlement (and mediators cannot force parties to settle). Even if a settlement is reached in mediation, the parties still need lawyers to submit the settlement paperwork in family court. In collaborative divorce and family law, the collaborative lawyers can submit the settlement paperwork.
On an emotional level, the collaborative process has the benefit of parties tending to be less acrimonious. With a litigated divorce or family law matter, the scars may never go away. However, in collaborative practice, parties are often able to get along after the proceedings are over so that they can co-parent.
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