Privacy. In litigation, you have a lot of pleadings filed that are public records and hearings that are held in open courts. Using the Collaborative Law process, you would have a series of short, private meetings away from the Courthouse. The work is conducted quietly and privately. When the agreement is finalized, there is a prove-up at the Courthouse, but it is a minimal, routine appearance. Discussions are held in private and documents are kept private.
Control over the outcome. Instead of having a Judge make interim and final decisions, the parties make their own decisions all along.
Professional assistance. Each party has their own attorney. In addition, we often use a neutral financial advisor to help gather, organize and explain the financial records. Plus, we use a neutral counselor who helps manage the meetings and sometimes children's issues. We delegate the financial work and parenting issues to the two other professionals who do the preliminary work in a very cost-efficient manner.
Focus on important issues. At the outset, the parties express their personal goals, needs and interests and then the process focuses on achieving what each party wants. Both parties can get their needs met most of the time. We avoid relying on arbitrary percentages or standard guidelines for our agreements.
Both parties benefitted. By focusing on what's important for both parties, both become satisfied. Each side wins. There doesn't have to be a loser.
Civilized approach. Collaborative trades in the experiences of trials, testimony, depositions and formal discovery for short meetings that follow an agenda and focus on the issues important to each party. We do not participation in the typical “beat down” of many litigated cases. The parties are on their best behavior and the neutral therapist ensures that they behave and function well in the process. It is a much less stressful process.
Improved communications. One of the side benefits of the process is that the parties usually learn better listening and communication skills with the help of the therapist.
Creative solutions. In Collaborative cases, we are open to any proposals. We do not automatically default to the guidelines for child support or possession schedules, for example. We are free to invent new approaches as long as they help the parties meet their needs.
Assets protected. We have great flexibility to deal with assets and take actions to help the parties meet their needs. Our negotiations are interest-based, rather than positional. That means that we always focus on the underlying interests or needs of each party, instead of starting with extreme arbitrary positions so we can end up with an arbitrary result in the middle. The middle may not be a good solution.
Timing controlled by the parties. You more or less set your own schedule. We are not bound by an arbitrary court schedule imposed by the Judge who rarely considers the circumstances of the parties. Some cases take a while to work through for various reasons. Others can move through in just 2 or 3 short meetings. The timing depends on what you and your spouse need.
If these advantages of Collaborative Divorce appeal to you, call us. We can help you decide if your case would be appropriate for the process.