The concepts of a Collaborative Divorce are simple by definition. The couple settles the issues amicably, thus eliminating the need for divorce litigation.  But many couples do not understand the details of a Collaborative Divorce. Here are five common misconceptions about Collaborative Divorce.

1. Collaborative Divorce is Expensive – False

Collaborative Divorce will cost you money, but it is not as costly as a contested divorce. In a Collaborative Divorce, each spouse usually hires a lawyer and a divorce coach. The parties jointly hire neutral specialists, such as a financial expert and a child evaluator.  Mediation sessions can also be helpful and scheduled if needed.

This might seem like a large team but when one breaks it all down, one can see where it saves money in the long run.

Work can be shifted to the specialists who can be less expensive than the attorneys.

  • Collaborative Divorce eliminates the expense of a trial.
  • In a contested divorce, both spouses hire a team of experts. In collaborative, the neutral specialists are working to achieve a satisfactory outcome for everyone involved.
  • The Attorneys Will Not Fight for their Clients – False

This is not true. Spouses may be reluctant to work collaboratively because they worry their lawyer will have more interest in reaching a settlement than fighting for their rights. While a Collaborative Divorce eliminates motions and hearings, the lawyers work to prepare for the settlement meetings, just like they work before going to court, always keeping the client’s interests in mind.

While preparing for settlement meetings, the attorneys will flesh out the issues and talk to the neutral specialist.  Then, if the parties cannot agree at the settlement conference, the spouses are not bound by a court schedule and can have additional time to work on the unresolved issues.

Attorney Withdrawal is Common – False

This is not true. On a rare occasion, a Collaborative Divorce may fall out of the collaborative process. If this happens both parties will need to find new lawyers to litigate the divorce.  This happens rarely.

In a collaborative divorce, the parties make a commitment from the beginning not to litigate in court.  Most couples take this commitment seriously and work to resolve all disputed issues in the case.  Moreover, the attorneys work with the needs and interests of the spouses in mind.   With everyone focused on a settlement, the end result is usually constructive and positive.

A Court Decision is Better Than a Settlement – False

A judge’s decision can be unpredictable and that can be nerve-wracking. Moreover, a judge has the authority to exercise judicial discretion to craft a solution that neither party requested. A judge’s decision can eliminate the control the spouses had over their case and over the divorce process.  In a Collaborative Divorce, the parties may have to compromise but they retain control over the final terms of the settlement.

A Divorce Coach is Intimidating

Although some spouses are reluctant to work with a divorce coach, this expert will bring some important benefits to the process such as:

  • Calming the waters
  • Helping the parties be reasonable
  • Facilitating communication

Although the spouses’ lawyers are trained in negotiation, they still need to advocate for their clients. A divorce coach has both the expertise and the objectivity to facilitate collaboration.

Collaborative Divorce is not for every couple.   Basic knowledge of these common misconceptions can help you determine if it will work for your divorce.  If you are considering divorce and would like to know what your options are, call or contact us at Kim Mediation and Law Center for a free 15-minute phone consultation.