Sometimes, marriages don’t work. It’s typically no one’s fault; instead, it’s a gradual process of growing apart, an acknowledgement that was once a relationship centred on love is now held together by duty.
In these cases, does there need to be a no-holds-barred courtroom battle, an atmosphere of intense conflict, a total unravelling of the love and cooperation you once shared? The short answer is: no. You can avoid those ugly stumbling blocks. You can separate amicably.
In this article, we explore collaborative divorce, a gentler type of legal divorce process built on respect and resolution. If you are separated from your ex-partner and planning a divorce, consider this short guide in your decision-making process.
What Is Collaborative Divorce? How Does It Work?
You’ll sometimes hear it called “collaborative family law” or simply “collaborative law.” In any case, it’s a legal process whereby two separating individuals aim to avoid the precarious outcomes of a courtroom battle by working together toward a cooperative settlement. Done effectively, it allows couples to sidestep litigation and walk away from the divorce happy.
To give a collaborative divorce its best possible chance of success, couples should – perhaps obviously – contact a lawyer specializing in collaborative family law. As you decide how to proceed with your divorce, consider collaborative options that emphasize empathy and compassion rather than a “shark mentality.”
The Benefits of Collaborative Divorce
The immediate and obvious benefit of a collaborative divorce is that, if successful, it sidesteps the courtroom. In many cases, a courtroom is the site of simmering animosity, bitter conflicts and ad hominem attacks. At least one person may leave dissatisfied – or perhaps everyone. Collaborative divorce proceedings, by contrast, aim to mediate issues and please everyone.
For people with children, another critical benefit of collaborative divorce is that it’s easier on the family dynamic. When successful, collaborative divorces can set the stage for a fair parenting plan that pleases all parties, fostering a more positive environment to raise children.
Lastly, because collaborative divorces often avoid the courts, they can be quicker and less expensive. And why funnel one’s time and money into fighting when that time and money is better served raising children and starting a new life chapter?
Is It Right for Everyone?
At least in some jurisdictions, there are three criteria for divorce: separation without the chance of reconciliation, infidelity, and spousal cruelty. A divorcing couple needs to meet one of those criteria, and most couples fall into the former category.
If the grounds for your divorce is the third criterion – physical or verbal cruelty, coercive control, domestic abuse, etc. – a collaborative, uncontested divorce is probably not the correct avenue. But again, that’s a decision you should reach not from an online article – but rather, in cooperation with an experienced legal expert.
If you are planning a divorce, speak to a knowledgeable family lawyer about the collaborative option. Likewise, if you are on good speaking terms with your ex-partner, broach the subject. Entered earnestly and thoughtfully, a collaborative divorce can save you time, money and emotional exhaustion.