Divorcing couples may wish to avoid the potential expense and emotional turmoil of a courtroom proceeding, but may not feel comfortable approaching the event without legal assistance. For such individuals, a middle-of-the-road option is available: collaborative divorce.
How does collaborative divorce work?
In a collaborative divorce, each spouse can benefit from the advice and representation of an attorney. However, the goal of this approach is to expedite the process and minimize costs. Hopefully, a fair divorce agreement can be reached with a reduced investment of time and money.
Avoiding sticker shock
According to one estimate, the average divorce may cost $15,000 per person – and often more. A collaborative divorce might only cost half that amount. Costs are saved by avoiding excessive court filings and judicially resolved disputes.
A couple may also avoid a battle of the experts over issues like property valuation and child support. In a collaborative approach, both parties may appoint an interdisciplinary team, comprised of child specialists, financial neutrals and others, who can offer their objective options to both parties in a single meeting.
Of course, a divorce attorney might agree that even amicable couples might benefit from independent valuations and appraisals of the marital estate. However, that could be mainly for peace of mind. In fact, the presence of counsel at collaborative divorce meetings might serve a similar function. Although the parties have committed to working together, each spouse can take comfort in knowing that a trained legal professional – knowledgeable in applicable divorce law – is there to ensure that matters of property division, support and other divorce issues are handled fairly.