One of the greatest fears many clients have when starting the ugly process of divorce is that it will take months and months of painful litigation, resulting in stress, unhappiness, and bringing about a solution that the court has devised which leaves no one satisfied. These fears are well founded; a divorce is one of the hardest things a person can go through and spouses often make it harder for each other by not sitting down and talking it out. Instead, they become vehement enemies. What’s worse is when children are involved and find themselves invariably caught in the middle. Sadly, this is the nature of our system.
That being said, over the past couple of decades a new process has been taking hold called Collaborative Law. This is sometimes referred to as collaborative practice, collaborative divorce, or collaborative family law, but each mean the same thing. Collaborative law is a form of alternative dispute resolution where couples who have decided to get a separation or divorce work with their lawyers to divide property, set up child/spousal support, and resolve any other issues, without litigation. Essentially, this means that the couple has decided to talk it out with the help of their lawyers and without involving the court. In order to make certain that neither party takes the dispute to a court, the attorneys for each spouse agree that if the spouses want to go to court, both of the lawyers will quit. This is intended to make sure that negotiations are amicable and without the looming threat of litigation.
While this system may seem limiting, as it forecloses on seeking judicial dissolution with the attorneys that the spouses have come to trust, it is often more relaxed, results in greater satisfaction, and is often cheaper. Litigation is expensive, tiring, and takes longer than anyone thinks it should. Meanwhile, a collaborative divorce may take place over as little as a month, with several meetings between the parties and their attorneys. Of course, it depends on the spouses themselves, and whether they can truly commit to resolving their divorce in a civilized and peaceful way. That is why, in order to conduct a collaborative divorce, both parties and their lawyers must be on board for the process.
At the Mastanduno Law Group, we are proud to offer our collaborative law services to our clients. We believe that the best way to resolve a problem between reasonable people is to sit down and talk it out, without resorting to adversarial litigation.