Photo courtesy of Ann Buscho
Collaborative Divorce provides divorcing parties with the expertise of a family law attorney to ensure fair results in the divorce proceeding using a team approach and the benefit of not having to go to court. Collaborative divorce experts also include therapists (both for the children and the parties); tax experts, financial experts to determine what the community estate is worth and how it is best divided, property experts and many other experts that can help families negotiate the often difficult and emotional journey of divorce.
Now let’s look at the three reasons you would want to participate in the Collaborative Divorce process.
- Certainty. Family law judges in California have the discretion to grant or deny requests made in their courtrooms. This means that the judge is going to make up her or his mind on the matter based upon what is believed to be true. There are times when it appears a case is a sure bet winner, but the judge may have a certain bias or opinion that doesn’t agree with either party’s thoughts on how the ruling should go. Remember, judges are human and without meaning to can and do apply their prejudices on the cases before them. You are left without control of some very important issues in your case.
In collaborative divorces, the parties and team members work to decide what works for that individual family and how and where concessions need to be made. Eachparty also has an attorney to ensure that the client is getting a fair deal from the divorce based upon what the law says must happen and what the parties want to have happen.
- No hearings. Each time parties have to go to court to argue over an issue, emotions rise and nerves are pushed to their limits (in addition to the lack of certainty of the outcome at the hearing). In collaborative divorce, there are no hearings to attend. Every decision that is made for the family is made as a team and with agreement.
- Cost. Attorneys generally require a $3,000 to $10,000 or more retainer for divorce cases. If the case doesn’t settle, and ends up in litigation, that retainer will be gone very quickly and need to be refilled continuously until you realize you have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars. With collaborative law, there is a higher initial retainer but the fees level out quickly. With no hearings, there is no preparation time or court appearance costs. In addition, there is no discovery fees that can eat up the funds quickly.
Divorce is difficult on everyone, no matter which type of dispute resolution option one chooses. Collaborate Divorce provides the parties with the legal, emotional and financial options that support families through the process in ways no other option does. The smart money is on collaborative law.
By Roz Bateman Smith,
Collaborative Law Attorney