Divorce is never an easy decision. But, once you have decided to move forward, you next must decide the best method of settlement for you and your spouse.
There are three options to consider: litigation, collaborative divorce or mediation. If you have already done your research and decided that the collaborative divorce process is the best way for you and your spouse to negotiate your divorce or separation, you must next encourage your spouse to engage in the collaborative process.
Let’s review each option to determine why Collaborative divorce would be the most beneficial.
In contrast to the collaborative model, litigation is an adversarial process, designed to have winners and losers at the conclusion. Both parties are represented by an attorney who will advocate their client’s position with the potential threat of a trial. Litigation is the most expensive option, will take the longest to resolve and is the most emotionally draining on both parties. In addition, there are no guarantees at the end of the day what the judge will decide.
Collaborative Divorce Process
The collaborative process still has each party represented by an attorney; however, the key difference is that the attorneys are committed to obtaining a fair settlement for both of you to avoid a trial. Underpinning this commitment, the attorneys sign an agreement that they will not represent you in court if a settlement is not achieved. To assist you and the attorneys, and if your particular situation so requires, neutral unbiased financial experts and/or family support specialists trained in the collaborative process, will be retained to help navigate financial and family issues. The collaborative process will generally be less expensive, quicker and will result in an agreement tailored to your needs through the assistance of your collaborative team.
In mediation, the parties negotiate with each other with the guidance of a neutral mediator. Mediation is the least expensive option and is a good choice if each spouse is comfortable advocating for themselves. If the mediators are also lawyers, they will write the agreement and prepare and file your divorce papers. Mediation does not require the parties to go to court.
Getting your spouse to agree to the Collaborative divorce process
If you’ve chosen the collaborative process, it’s likely that you want the assistance of an attorney and neutral financial or family experts to avoid the adversarial nature of litigation. To help get your spouse on board, it’s important to stress how the collaborative process would benefit each of you. You might do this by following these suggestions:
1. Be prepared to highlight how the collaborative model works and provide your spouse with helpful websites such as www.licdp.com and www.collaborativepractice.com ;
2. Provide your spouse with articles explaining the process and benefits of Collaborative;
3. Speak with your spouse at a less stressful time of day when there is a better chance of having a fruitful discussion;
4. Send a text or email if you and your spouse have difficulty communicating face to face;
5. Ask a family member whom your spouse trusts to discuss the collaborative option with them;
6. Don’t force the issue. Give your spouse the time to consider this option;
7. Speak with a collaborative attorney that you wish to hire. They can reach out to your spouse to explain the collaborative process and answer any questions your spouse may have, or alternatively, provide them with the aforementioned websites so that your spouse can consult with their own collaborative attorney.
To obtain more information and a list of collaboratively trained lawyers, financial experts and family support specialists, please visit www.licdp.com. Each member will be happy to answer any additional questions or concerns you may have.