What Is Collaborative Divorce? - Bineham & Gillen

divorceWhat Is Collaborative Divorce?

July 24, 2023by James Gillen

Divorce can be complicated when it comes to legal matters. What is the best way to proceed? When involved in one, it is important to understand your available options. A collaborative divorce might be a route to consider for the most peaceful divorce outcome possible. At Bineham & Gillen, we want to give you an overview of this option and what it entails, especially since it’s a newer process.

What Is Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative divorce is a newer method of alternative dispute resolution in family law. It’s a process in which all parties work collaboratively to achieve a negotiated outcome.

Lawyers from both parties in the divorce agree to work together to employ cooperative techniques that resolve conflicts instead of popular adversarial strategies and litigation. Everyone involved is committed to a peaceful resolution and agrees not to commence litigation during negotiations.

How Do Participation Agreements Help The Process?

During a collaborative divorce, both parties and their lawyers enter into a participation agreement, or a contract, where it’s agreed that the lawyers will withdraw from the litigation process if a settlement can’t be reached.

Divorce Mediation

Participation agreements include several provisions about what each party can and can’t do during the divorce mediation. The guidelines in this agreement set the standard for the process, helping it remain peaceful until a resolution is found. These include provisions such as the following:

  • Outstanding issues will be settled in a constructive, non-adversarial manner using interest-based negotiation.
  • Both parties will rely on their lawyers to help them reach a settlement.
  • Neutral third-party professionals may be involved.
  • Communication will be fair, constructive and neither party will take advantage of the other’s errors.
  • The parties will minimize emotional damage to their children by acting in the best interests of the children.
  • In regards to the children, the status quo will be maintained, and no unilateral changes will be made without consent to assets, insurance or other matters.

With the help of these criteria, a participation agreement can make the collaborative divorce process a peaceful experience.

A Peaceful Divorce: Why Collaborative Divorce Is Ideal

Separating from a spouse is incredibly difficult for those involved, and contentious legal proceedings can worsen matters. During collaborative divorce mediation, the lawyers agree to manage conflicts, including emotional and relationship issues, in an efficient way.

Meeting with both parties and their lawyers allows the separation to be explored constructively using their own thoughts and feelings. These techniques often result in a less stressful, fair settlement. It’s crucial to consider the pros and cons of a collaborative divorce to determine if this process is best for you.

Advantages Of A Collaborative Divorce

Mediation has numerous benefits in divorce cases. A few notable advantages are:

  • It has a lower cost than litigation.
  • You have more control over the outcome.
  • There is greater opportunity for compromise.
  • It is less time-consuming.

The outcomes of this alternative dispute resolution are typically worthwhile. If both spouses are capable of working together, each can reach the desired outcome leading to a peaceful divorce.

Drawbacks Of A Collaborative Divorce

Even though this process offers multiple benefits, it’s not one that’s suitable for all cases. A few potential drawbacks are:

  • Cheaper than litigation, but still expensive
  • Can’t be used if both parties don’t agree to the collaborative divorce process
  • The method only works if both parties share accurate financial information.

In truth, the cons of this method are less than the advantages it can provide. If both parties are committed to the process and are willing to reach a peaceful resolution, collaborative divorces can be successful.

Considering An Alternative Dispute Resolution

As with navigating any legal matter, you may still have some questions. For more information about collaborative divorce and other kinds of divorce proceedings, contact the professional attorneys at Bineham & Gillen! As Helotes’ leading family law and divorce practice, we’re here to help you navigate your legal matters!