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Collaborative Law: The (More) Peaceful Divorce Alternative

father and his child on beach.

The process of divorce for many couples is often a tiring and frustrating one. Sometimes it is even known to become an ugly or hostile battle if a couple or the divorce itself is particularly volatile. Many people can’t imagine that something as life-altering (more often for the wrong reasons) can be resolved in a generally cordial manner. However, the introduction of collaborative law seems to be making a change to the stigma of the divorce process.

Collaborative law, in its simplest terms, is a legal mediation most often exercised in divorce and family law. The main appealing feature of collaborative law is that the entire process takes place outside of a courtroom with divorcing couples coming to agreeing terms with the help of a team of lawyers and specialists to help them – both of them. There are also specialists dedicated to helping children through a time that, all-too often, many things are difficult for them to understand and children end up placing unnecessary blame upon themselves.

In the process of collaborative law, the most important thing to consider is how much the divorcing parties actually want to be there. The entire premise is based on cordial mediation, and if hostilities are inevitable between spouses, then it’s likely the process will not work for them and they would need to proceed to a courtroom setting. However, for those that can manage the emotions that are often associated with divorce, collaboration of this sort could be very beneficial for parties to settle on agreeable terms as well as maintain their emotional health and – as mentioned earlier – the fragile emotional state of any children that may be involved. Whereas most traditional divorce proceedings work with separate attorneys working specifically for either party to gain as much as possible, the collaborative law setting allows multiple attorneys to give advice, legal and otherwise, to both parties for the best possible outcome for shared between them.

Beyond that, collaborative divorces are also known to be more cost-effective for all parties involved. One source approximates that collaborative divorce mediation can cost around one fifth that of traditional divorce court proceedings, with the extremes of this spectrum running as high as 93% in savings to each party. Another source approximates about 50-75% savings between one collaborative service and the estimated cost of a traditional divorce. Even despite the drastic figures, the conclusion remains the same; collaborative law in general is easier on the pocketbooks. This can be attributed to the fact that cases don’t need to be charging multiple attorneys with a bias for the interests of each representative, but act as a collective body to assist in the mediation as a whole. Nor is the the divorce making use of the court system to come to any sort of conclusion, so the costs associated with most neutral parties like judges are also cut from the overall bill. And if all that weren’t enough, collaborative law also reduces the backlog of cases to go through civil court and makes the court system as a whole more efficient.

The ideal situation is obviously that you will never need to consider one path or the other in your relationship. And while the very concept of divorce in general is a topic often filled with distrust, anger and sometimes malice, for those that could handle the process, collaborative law may just be the best and most efficient option them and everyone else that is ultimately involved in the process.

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