How can I be better at divorce than I was at marriage?
As an experienced attorney, I could focus on litigated divorces, do only collaborative divorce cases, or accept both types of cases. On average, a litigated divorce case would earn a much larger fee than the same case in a collaborative setting.
So, why do I do only collaborative divorces rather than accepting mostly litigated cases?
The answer is simple–the collaborative process offers significant benefits for me and for my clients. The primary benefit for me from accepting only collaborative divorce cases is my quality of life.
At the end of the day, I feel so much better about what I do. I am doing something constructive for my client rather than destroying their families by exposing them to litigation.
My job satisfaction is much higher because I do only collaborative divorces. Moreover, my clients are happier with my representation because they enjoy significant benefits by doing a collaborative divorce.
1. Lower Cost
The average cost of a collaborative divorce is approximately half the average cost of a litigated divorce. Clients who choose a collaborative divorce preserve assets for the family rather than paying fees to an attorney. My clients tell me they were shocked by the retainers required by the average litigation attorney compared with my fees.
Everything said or produced during a collaborative divorce is confidential. By contrast, in a litigated divorce, everything is public and subject to discovery. For prominent professionals, wealthy businessmen, and anyone who has something they would rather not splash across the pages of their local newspaper, a collaborative divorce is the preferred way to untie the know.
Collaborative clients agree to voluntarily produce all relevant financial and family information. This way, they avoid lengthy and expensive discovery fights characteristic of litigated divorces. Also, because collaborative clients are transparent during the divorce, they develop trust and don’t have to worry about their spouse hiding assets. In addition, collaborative professionals are trained to discover if a spouse has hidden assets.
Collaborative meetings are scheduled at the convenience of the parties. This is a advantage for busy professionals, who can’t easily take time from work to attend lengthy hearings scheduled at the convenience of the court. In a litigated divorce, temporary hearings, discovery disputes, depositions and the trial are scheduled at the convenience of the court and the attorney.
5. Preserving Family Relationships
The collaborative process helps divorcing couples communicate, respect each other, and work together. Also, the collaborative team never allows the children to be put in the middle of a divorce. By contrast, a litigated divorce brings out the worst in people, makes them hate each other even more, and destroys any hope they can work together constructively post-divorce.
6. Protecting Children
Children are never put in the middle of a collaborative divorce. The collaborative team never contact the children for any reason. In a litigated divorce, children are often put in the middle and forced to meet with the judge in chambers to tell the court where they want to live after the divorce is final.
7. Client Centered Divorce
Clients control the settlement process in a collaborative divorce rather than turn their future over to a judge or jury. A litigated divorce is controlled by attorneys, who dictate strategy, and a judge who makes rulings during the temporary hearing and determines the outcome at trial.
8. Creative Settlements
The collaborative process allows clients and their attorneys to reach creative settlements not generally available in court. The judge will usually order standard possession, guideline child support and an equal split of community assets unless there are unusual circumstances, while a collaborative settlement can be customized to fit the need of this particular couple.
9. Minimize Post-Divorce Conflicts