Collaborative divorce sounds like a dream come true, especially when compared to what people traditionally think of when they hear the word divorce. Happy endings are not always the case though. Collaborative divorce is usually not the rosy process it sounds like. Rather, it’s a more balanced, respectful way to go about ending a marriage.
As divorce attorneys in Miami, we are here to help. Find our guide on all things collaborative divorce below.
What is Collaborative Divorce?
At its most basic, collaborative divorce is the process of a couple working together on their divorce rather than taking a hostile approach. The couple does not go to court but works with their attorneys to come to a conclusion. Both parties still have separate attorneys. Both parties still split up their assets and, if a child is involved, work out child custody.
The difference is that both parties enter the divorce process with an expectation and desire to come to a mutually agreed upon and beneficial understanding. This is not always the easiest process.
Divorces get ugly. This is true for a multitude of reasons, be they money, property, children, alimony, or the reasons the marriage ended in the first place. Collaborative divorce sounds like a nice option, but it is much more difficult than most people imagine.
Easier Said Than Done
According to a US News and World Reports article, there were only sixty-two collaborative divorces filed out of 3,862 total divorces during a two-year period in one Wisconsin county. That number highlights just how difficult the collaborative process is.
We touched on this above, but it bears examining a bit further. One of the main reasons for this difficulty is that couples think they can have a collaborative divorce before finding out just how challenging this really is. Another major reason is that the parties’ attorneys may believe they can handle a collaborative divorce but the lawyers are not experienced enough in collaborative law to manage.
Yet another reason for the difficulty resulting from collaborative divorce is the participation agreement. This is an agreement entered into that if the collaborative process does not work, the individuals’ counsels will recuse themselves and both parties will find new attorneys.
Finally, collaborative divorce is often difficult is because it is not mediation. There is not a neutral force holding the parties accountable. There are only the divorcing couple and their attorneys to intervene should tempers rise or anger flair.
The Financial Benefits of Collaborative Divorce
Being faced with so many obstacles, you may ask why anyone would choose to have a collaborative divorce. Faced with an already difficult situation, why opt to stay out of the courtroom and forgo a mediator?
The answer, as so many answers do, comes down to money.
The average divorce is estimated to cost between $15,000 and $30,000. Collaborative divorces, on the other hand, cost around $7,500. That is significant savings, especially when you consider the lost equity that comes from dividing property during a divorce.
So, is collaborative divorce a possibility or just an illusion? The answer depends on you and your partner. If you are capable of cooperating, it is a wonderful option. If not, it is best to stick to traditional divorce.
We should note that the Law Office of Patrick Cordero do not practice collaborative divorce. This article is intended for informative purposes only.