Collaborative Divorce Can Provide a Structure for Reaching Good Agreements
As in mediation, the sole objective of the Collaborative Divorce process is to help you reach a good agreement. Because all energy is focused on reaching agreements, Collaborative Divorce can be more effective and efficient than conventional lawyer-assisted divorce negotiation or litigation. In a Collaborative Divorce, each client has their own Collaborative Lawyer, who helps them reach agreement. All meet in person to work through the issues. Collaborative Practice is especially useful for divorcing couples where one or both parties need personal and individualized support to be able to reach agreement.
In many ways, Collaborative Divorce is similar to mediation but with additional professional support. Because the sole goal is to reach agreements, Collaborative Practice is without doubt more efficient in reaching agreements than working with conventional litigation-oriented lawyers. Litigation is prohibited in a Collaborative Divorce. When litigation is allowed, what a judge may impose plays a central role. In Collaborative Divorce, the focus is not on the courtroom but on reaching agreement. No effort needs to be spent on making a court case, or defending against a court case. To provide incentives for all to act in alignment with the goal of seeking agreements, Collaborative Divorce attorneys cannot represent their clients in court on contested matters. Collaborative divorce attorneys can only help you reach a settlement and do what is legally needed to formalize your settlement.
In Collaborative Divorce, the clients and the lawyers commit to work towards an agreement in good faith—with integrity, with transparency, and with a commitment to not go to court. The intention is to help you and your spouse/partner reach an agreement that is in alignment with your goals, addresses your concerns, without creating unnecessary or confrontational conflicts.
The downsides? Compared to mediation, there are more cooks in the kitchen, which tends to result in additional overhead and some inefficiencies. The skills to be effective as professional in Collaborative Divorce are difficult to master. For those reasons, mediation can be a more cost-effective approach for many, so long as the additional support of lawyers in not needed.
If you are looking to reach an agreement for your divorce that addresses the long term needs of your family, contact Seattle divorce mediator Mark Weiss at (206) 622-6707.