Going through divorce is never easy, but some couples do not realize they have choices about how the process takes place. Litigation in court is not the only option. Collaborative law allows couples to reach their own divorce agreement through methods such as mediation. However, collaborative law is not the right choice for everyone.
Here are 4 conditions that could indicate a collaborative divorce is a good choice for you:
1. Willingness to negotiate
Collaborative law can only work if both couples are willing to go through with it. This does not mean you have to agree on everything. In all likelihood, you already don't. You do not necessarily have to get along well either, but both of you must be willing to negotiate. This may mean making compromises about certain decisions. This is also where a mediator or other party can help. They can keep discussions focused and ease any tension that could arise.
2. A desire for a personalized agreement
Because you are the ones negotiating the terms of your divorce, the final agreement can be more suited to your personal situation. A court-ordered divorce decree may not always capture the full needs of your family. You also do not have to sign the agreement until you are satisfied with it, so couples are less likely to be upset about their terms after a collaborative divorce.
Keep in mind, though, that court still has to approve the agreement. A family law attorney or mediator can ensure that your agreement is fair and likely to be approved.
3. A desire for a more amicable process
Many couples who choose collaborative law want to avoid the tremendous stress and negativity of courtroom battles. This is an especially important consideration if you have minor children. Divorce can take a heavy toll on kids who watch their parents argue and fight for everything in court.
In general, couples and kids alike leave a collaborative divorce with less emotional stress and ex-spouses often feel much less animosity as they move forward with their lives.
4. You are involved in the family's finances
Unfortunately, it is quite common for a spouse to hide assets or lie about their financial state when providing information for a divorce case. All assets and income need to be disclosed or you could lose out on them when they should have been divided. If you have not been involved in the family's finances or have any reason to suspect a spouse is hiding assets, collaborative divorce may not be a good choice.