GET REAL: What to Expect in Collaborative Divorce

Look Before You Leap

Collaborative Divorce is a wonderful alternative to traditional litigation but it’s not for everyone. Before making a commitment to proceed through the Collaborative Divorce process, parties should understand how the process works. Entering the Collaborative Divorce process with realistic expectations is crucial to the success of that process.

You Have to Speak and You Have to Listen

Collaborative Divorce is designed as a process where the parties, themselves, speak directly to one another. The attorneys will facilitate those discussions and will protect their respective clients and advocate for their clients but the process requires that the parties speak for themselves rather than through their attorneys. Unless both sides can not only speak with clarity and specificity but also listen with attentiveness and open-mindedness, the process can get bogged down. Most people are hesitant and many are frankly intimidated by the idea that they are expected to speak for themselves but nearly everyone is capable of doing so very effectively with the support and guidance of the Collaborative professionals.

It’s All About the Meetings

In collaborative divorce the parties are actively and directly involved in negotiations which occur in face-to-face meetings attended by the parties, their attorneys, and either a coach or a financial specialist or both. Meetings that result in meaningful progress towards a comprehensive resolution require careful and thorough preparation. So parties have to attend meetings on a regular basis throughout the entirety of the process (with their own attorney to prepare and with the other party and his or her attorney to negotiate).

It Ain’t Cheap and it Ain’t Quick

The Collaborative Divorce process is nearly always more cost-effective than litigation but to think that it provides for a “cheap divorce” would be a mistake. Any resolution that is fair and as positive as possible for everyone involved takes some time to craft. So don’t expect to reach agreement quickly. Understand that you will need time to gather information, consider what is most important to you and your family, devise creative suggestions for your spouse to consider, review the needs and concerns of your spouse, weigh your spouse’s proposals and then finally reach consensus.

The Results Are Amazing

The results of a successful Collaborative Divorce are mutually rewarding for the parties and their children. The terms of settlement are those the parties themselves negotiate and are never imposed upon the parties by a judge. The settlement always addresses the real needs and concerns of both parties and never rests upon arbitrary positions. To resolve conflict through mutual problem-solving rather than through adversarial battle always results in more creative, positive and thoughtful solutions.

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