If traditional divorce is a war, collaborative divorce is a productive conversation. At GKWW, we have family lawyers who have been certified to facilitate that conversation, bringing this difficult transition to a mutually agreeable closure.
The goal of collaborative divorce, naturally, is for both parties to cooperate in achieving a fair and amicable divorce. The spouses agree to certain ground rules that promote resolution with a minimum of animosity; the attorneys for the spouses make similar commitments.
Couples who opt for collaborative divorce generally reap the following benefits:
In a typical traditional divorce, many pleadings, discovery, motions, and disputes enter into the public record. Let’s be honest: Nobody wants that. Persons of high net worth and public stature especially don’t want their numbers–or their dirty laundry–in the public record. Such airings can have highly detrimental effects for a divorcing spouse’s business and reputation.
In a collaborative divorce usually only two items–the initial petition, and the final agreement–become public.
Fostering future relationships.
There’s no getting around it: The court system is adversarial in nature. In court, each party takes its position and goes to battle–whether or not those parties once loved each other as much as life itself. Every dispute can become a fight: from the rights to visitation on a child’s birthday to who gets a treasured vintage motorcycle. Every disputed item can ratchet up the intensity between the spouses, eventually adding up to an enmity from which they may never recover.
Collaborative divorce seeks to minimize animosity and cool these tensions. After divorce, spouses must often cooperate in parenting, business, and social responsibilities for years to come, maintaining a clear-headed approach is often the most productive decision for all involved.
Sparing the children.
In marriage transitions involving children, custody disputes are the most passionately contested matters at hand. In a collaborative divorce, the parties agree to work out even the most heated disputes, guided by the assistance of trained intermediaries, in a way that protects the emotional lives of the children and their parents.
Preserving their businesses.
The blood, sweat, and tears that went into building a family business should not be rendered worthless by an acrimonious divorce. In traditional divorces, one spouse may seek leverage by making the business the focus of the divorce–and may even seek to destroy the business as retribution against the other spouse. Such disputes may cause employees of–and investors in–the business to be uncertain about its future.
In collaborative divorce, the spouses agree to transition their relationship with expert guidance, keeping the company resilient and out of jeopardy.
Preserving marital assets.
In traditional divorce proceedings, each party must hire an expert on each individual topic area. This results in significant expert and attorneys’ fees.
In collaborative divorce, however, both parties often agree on a single expert to assist in a particular topic area. For example, a single accountant might review all of the family’s finances and provide information for financial allocation between the spouses. This tends to resolve matters without multiple motions and court proceedings.
Achieving a faster resolution.
Court is slow. Divorce dockets are pretty universally overloaded, leading to substantial delay and expense. Cases often continue for years before a judge has time to conduct a settlement conference or to hold a trial. In a collaborative divorce, a mediator–often a retired judge, or an experienced lawyer–performs the functions that a judge doesn’t have time to handle, cutting the time to final resolution time down by an exponential factor.
Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
If you’re interested in exploring the option of collaborative divorce, we can help. Contact GKWW for a free, confidential consultation.