Collaborative Divorce

An alternative to traditional divorce is collaborative divorce. At GKWW, we have family lawyers that have been certified in collaborative divorce. The goal of collaborative divorce is for the husband and wife seek to cooperate in completing the divorce. The spouses agree to certain ground rules that promote resolution with a minimum of animosity. The attorneys for the spouses make similar commitments. Collaborative divorce can have the following benefits:

Fostering Future Relationships – The court system is adversarial in nature. If there is a dispute between the spouses, each party takes its position and goes to battle. Every dispute can become a fight from who has visitation on a child’s birthday to who has residential custody. As a result, the divorce can increase animosity between the spouses for which they may never recover–even though the spouses will often have common relationships for years to come. Collaborative divorce seeks to minimize animosity and cool the tensions between the spouses during the divorce process.

Privacy – All pleadings, discovery, motions, and disputes are part of the public record in a typical divorce. In a collaborative divorce, only the initial petition and the parties’ agreement become part of the public record. No one wishes to have their finances aired in public. Collaborative divorce minimizes making financial records part of the public record.

Sparing The Children – Custody disputes are the most hotly contested matters in most divorces. In a collaborative divorce, the parties agree to work out even the most heated disputes, often with the assistance of trained intermediaries. This approach minimizes placing the children in the middle of parental disputes.

Preserving Businesses – The blood, sweat, and tears that went into building a family business should not be rendered worthless by an acrimonious divorce. In tradition divorces, one spouse may seek leverage by making the business the focus of the divorce and may even seek to destroy the business in retribution for the acts of the business owner. Just having business issues may detract the attention of the business owner and harm the business. Such disputes may cause employees and investors in the business to be uncertain about its future. In collaborative divorce, the spouses agree to resolve business issues without jeopardizing the business and with the help of trained experts on the business issues.

Lower Cost – In collaborative divorce, the 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. In traditional divorce proceedings, each party must hire an expert on each topic area because of the adversarial nature of the divorce.

Faster Resolution – Court is slow. Divorce dockets are overloaded leading to substantial delay and expense. Judges lack time to dedicate to motions and the resolution of the cases. Often cases continue for years before a judge has time to mediate the dispute. Had the judge sought to mediate the dispute at the start of the case, the divorce would have been finalized at a savings of many thousands of dollars. In a collaborative divorce, a mediator (often a retired judge or experienced lawyer) performs the functions that a judge doesn’t have time to handle.

Attorneys’ Fees – The adversarial nature of traditional divorce generates significant attorneys’ fees because a move by one spouse must be countered by the other spouse. Collaborative divorce resolves matters without multiple motions and court proceedings.