In Collaborative Divorce, the attorneys help the spouses reach settlement agreements that satisfy the needs and interests of both spouses. In court based divorce, a gain for one spouse is often viewed as requiring a loss by the other, a negotiation process called a “zero-sum game.”
In Collaborative Divorce, spouses shield their children from the divorce process and develop parenting plans that are in the best interests of their children and encourage co-parenting. In court based divorce, some spouses place their children first, but, an uncomfortable amount of the time, spouses focus primarily on their own interests. Furthermore, negotiations frequently involve efforts to minimize the other spouse’s parenting contributions and to emphasize their flaws and mistakes. When a settlement is not reached, a judge decides for the spouses how parenting will work at a “custody and visitation” trial, which is held in open court.
The spouses in Collaborative Divorce use neutral financial advisors, consultants, and appraisers. In court based divorce, spouses hire opposing experts (i.e., 2 experts for every 1 in the Collaborative Process).
In Collaborative Divorce, neither spouse is allowed to take advantage of the other’s mistakes. Both spouses must participate in a sincere and candid exchange of information. In court based divorce, as long as legal ethics rules are not crossed, taking advantage of your spouse’s (or their attorney’s) mistakes or miscalculations is frequently part of the “the game.” Court based divorce is an “adversarial process.”
In sum, the divorce process you go through impacts your present and future dramatically. Choose the Collaborative Process, and you’ll lessen the pain, animosity, and probably the cost of your divorce. Choose a litigator, and your experience is more likely to mirror the horror stories you hear