The thought of divorce may bring up images of couples battling it out in a courtroom, or fighting over child custody, a marital home, or bank accounts. However, when couples wage war over the end of a marriage, the stress and strain that is placed on an entire family can leave long-term scars and every person involved often ends up losing. Hence, couples are now considering the collaborative law route to ending their marriage.
In the collaborative law process, the couple is the entity which makes the final decisions on how child custody, the marital estate, and other items will be divided. This is different from a traditional divorce where a judge makes those final decisions.
The collaborative process is also different from mediation. In a collaborative divorce, each spouse has their own mediation lawyers and also works with other professionals to come up with an agreeable resolution. In mediation, the couple works with only one person — the mediator.
According to recent studies, collaborative divorces are often quicker than traditional divorces. Although it is important to remember that each case is different and outcomes depend on the complexity of the issues, more than half of collaborative divorces are settled within nine months. Collaborative divorces are usually less expensive than traditional divorces, as the price of litigation drives the final price up to almost three times the amount of a collaborative divorce.
The International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) recommends the following guidelines to help couples decide whether or not a collaborative process will work for them:
Many couples who have gone through couples counseling together are often able to take the communication and negotiating skills they learned in counseling and apply them to the collaborative divorce process. The following are useful tips on how to have discussions with your spouse, especially as you approach divorce negotiations:
To find out if collaborative divorce is right for your situation, contact one of our mediation lawyers at the Law Offices of Ryan S. Dougay in Austin, TX clients recommend for a free consultation.