If you’re reading this blog, you have a lot on your mind. You’re considering divorce. You want a lawyer to help you through, but you also hope to save time and money. You may think you don’t have that option but consider collaborative divorce.
Collaborative divorce is a no-court divorce option where collaboratively trained lawyers and other professionals help you and your spouse reach an agreement. How can this save time and money? Like this:
1) You avoid litigation.
Litigation is formal and expensive. For example, to get a parenting plan when there’s no agreement, someone files a formal written request with the court. The responding party files a written response, then the person who filed the request submits a written reply. These things are time consuming for lawyers to do. Even once you’re in court, you may be racking up your attorney’s billable hours just waiting around until your case is called. In collaborative divorce, parenting experts help parties communicate and cooperatively craft a parenting plan that’s written up by the lawyers. All issues are resolved without court and the expense of litigation. According to the Los Angeles Collaborative Family Law Association, collaborative divorce usually avoids two thirds of the cost of traditionally litigated divorces.
2) You decide the timeline.
Usually, the parties and the lawyers meet a number of times in this process. In these meetings, issues are discussed with an eye to resolution. If information is missing, everyone meets again when it’s gathered. How quickly can all this happen? As quickly as everyone’s available to meet. You’re not hindered by the back-logged court’s schedule. You can also meet at any time of day that works for everyone, which is especially helpful to working parties.
3) You share costs.
Sometimes we need the help of non-legal experts. For example, a forensic accountant is needed to analyze tax returns and bank statements for relevant information, or we need an appraiser’s help to value the family home. Instead of hiring “dueling experts,” in collaborative divorce, only one expert is hired.
In addition to saving time and money, collaborative divorce also has other advantages. It gives you and your spouse (not a judge) control over the outcome. It avoids the heavy emotional toll of litigation that’s played out in a public courtroom. It allows for creative resolutions. And finally, where kids are involved, reaching a collaborative divorce resolution can set the stage for constructive resolution of any future issues.