CNBC recently featured an article on collaborative law being applied in divorce cases. As the author, Deborah Nason, states, “Divorce will never be a walk in the park, but it doesn’t have to be a traumatic process, either.” She addresses the major problems that can be created by litigating a divorce to conclusion in Court. For a lot of people, the cost of a divorce is a major factor. According to the article, litigating a divorce can cost as much as three times or more than a collaborative divorce.
As we have discussed in this blog before, Collaborative Divorce is a process that involves each party having their own lawyer. The agreement includes a clause in each party’s contract with the lawyer that if the collaborative process breaks down, the parties must find different lawyers to litigate their issues. By keeping the divorce out of litigation, it allows the parties to craft their own agreements through various meetings with the attorneys and other collaborative professionals like mental health counselors and financial specialists.
Yet, the effect of choosing collaborative law over litigation can save the parties much more than money. As Gary Direnfield, (MSW RSW) writes, “Collaborative Family Law has long been presented as a kinder more gentle way of facilitating the dissolution of intimate relationships where the parties’ finances, assets and other relationships are intertwined and in particular when parent-child relationships will survive the dissolution of the intimate partnership.” Mr. Direnfield is a social worker, and his article speaks to attorneys who litigate for a living. He talks about the nature of collaborative law, and how the parties generally recover better from a collaborative process versus litigation. Often, litigation can result in a sort of “scorched earth” process that leaves both divorce parties in a difficult situation. Collaborative law can avoid this, and allow the parties to work out a deal outside of Court where the pressure and stress is much greater.