How Does Collaborative Law Change the Divorce Process?
The stereotypical picture of the divorce process involves angry and bitter spouses engaged in never-ending, acrimonious court battles, wrangling over every last item the couple owns. However, divorce does not have to devolve into such an experience. More divorcing couples in New York are looking to collaborative lam methods of ending marriage as a way to save money and preserve relationships
Different Than Litigation
When a couple uses collaborative law during a divorce, they agree from the outset that they will eschew litigation during the process – even the threat of going to court is not allowed. The spouses and their attorneys take steps to work through the issues that divide the couple so they can find solutions agreeable to both parties. The lawyers are invested in helping their clients reach agreements because they also have to agree not to represent their clients should either client break the agreement not to litigate.
Collaborative law differs from other alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation because the parties do not use a third-party neutral to help them reach agreements. Additionally, when couples use mediation, they are always free to go to court if they cannot reach agreements utilizing the mediator even during mediation talks.
One of the major benefits to using collaborative methods during a divorce is that is can save money. Collaborative divorce is usually a much faster process than traditional litigation, usually taking about four meetings between couples and their lawyers, so the legal fees are often much lower.
According to statistics from the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, about 95 percent of all divorces end with settlements. As such, it makes very little sense for attorney to engage in trial preparations such as filing and arguing motions in an effort to better position their sides for trial. Doing so also serves to aggravate both sides, inflaming emotions and leaving lasting scars that can prevent the parties from salvaging any type of relationship after the divorce is final. Also, preparing for trial and the trial itself can substantially increase the final bill when most cases will ultimately settle anyway.
When a couple has young children, they need to be able to communicate with one another to effectively co-parent after the divorce is final. Couples who use collaborative divorce methods have a better chance of being able to do so.
Consult an Attorney
Collaborative divorce is not right for every couple. If you are considering divorce, talk to an experienced lawyer who can advise you of all of your options.