From a financial perspective, the answer is most of the time. In our experience, a typical collaborative divorce costs about 30% – 50% less than a divorce where the spouses fully litigate their case (i.e., where they do formal discovery, have preliminary hearings, conduct depositions, go to trial, etc.). Costs for a collaborative divorce compared to a litigated case that settles, long before a final hearing, can be more similar.
From an emotional perspective, a collaborative divorce will unquestionably be less costly for you, your spouse, and your family than if you to take the traditional, court route. Traditional divorce lawyers aggressively pursue their individual clients’ interests and frequently will attack the other spouse to “win.” The unsurprising result of this approach is that spouses, whose relationships had already soured to the point of divorce, often wind up disliking one another even more, sometimes dramatically. When there are children involved, the impact of this is can be a disaster, as these folks will now somehow still have to manage to co-parent and, even when the kids are grown up, tolerate one another at weddings, births, and other family events.
In a collaborative divorce, both spouses are treated with dignity and respect, and they negotiate in a safe envelope, where their attorneys work to help them reach a settlement that satisfies both parties’ interests and puts their children first. There is a conscious effort to tend to the emotional needs of both spouses, and threats, bullying, and other bad behavior are not tolerated.