The national divorce rate has consistently hovered at around 50 percent for years now. Divorce is no longer seen as something to be feared or shamed, but a tool that can lead to personal happiness and free someone from the bonds of an unfulfilling marriage. That being said, traditional divorce litigation continues to be a lengthy and expensive proposition.
For couples who simply cannot agree on the parameters of their divorce, litigation may be the only way to proceed, but for couples who can put aside their animosity and contention, there is another option: collaborative divorce.
Since collaborative law in the family arena is a relatively new legal construct, many people might not be aware of it. Simply put, a collaborative divorce approach takes the process out of the courtroom and into a less adversarial setting. This is accomplished by having a neutral panel of experts like financial planners, accountants, therapists, child advocates (if children are involved and the couple have been unable to agree upon a parenting plan) and other professionals who impartially examine the couple's circumstances and help guide them to an equitable, workable solution.
There are many benefits to using a collaborative approach in lieu of litigation, notably the fact that the parties get to make their own decisions and don't have the outcome dictated to them by a judge who may not be familiar with the unique aspects of their situation. This gives the parties a sense of control over the outcome which, in many cases, removes a great deal of anxiety and uncertainty sometimes associated with divorce.
In addition, for couples with children, working cooperatively in a collaborative law setting can put them in a much better position to co-parent in the future than if their divorce was adversarial and contentious. Collaborative divorce is also typically much cheaper than litigation and is usually resolved quicker.
Source: CNBC.com, “Credit alert! Unpaid medical bills unfairly hurt scores,” Herb Weisbaum, May 21, 2014.