WHY use Collaborative Divorce?
The collaborative family law process offers a healthy approach to separation and divorce. It strives to avoid the negative emotional and financial consequences of family law litigation and its impact on the family, by offering the following benefits:
Collaborative family law is a client-centred approach, as the parties are very active in making decisions about what their future is going to look like. The focus is on interests rather than positions, and the collaborative team works together to find solutions that meet the needs and goals of both parties. The results are often more satisfactory as they reflect what is important to both parties. This means that the results of negotiation are also challenged less frequently.
In collaborative family law, the parties have significant control over both the process and the outcome. This is especially true when compared to litigation where the process is rigid, there are often significant delays and the final decision is made by a judge. In a collaborative divorce or separation, the clients are very involved in making decisions about the timing, speed, and nature of the process, as well as reaching a deal that works for them.
The separating or divorcing couple is supported by a professional team who can help them navigate through legal, financial, emotional and parenting issues. The collaborative divorce process also offers each spouse the opportunity to be emotionally supported by a Divorce Coach. Divorce coaches are mental health professional who are trained to assist families with managing the stress, conflict and transitions that come with divorce. Each spouse can also be supported by a neutral Financial Specialist to help prepare a business valuation, provide advice on pensions, help with financial planning, and to assist with tax planning.
Open and Transparent
In the collaborative divorce process, the separating couple commits to engaging in honest and respectful communication, to providing full and frank disclosure of financial and other relevant information, and to negotiating in good faith. This allows the separating or divorcing couple, and their family lawyers, to work together in a team and collaborate in a more open and trusting manner.
The collaborative divorce process is in most cases significantly less expensive than family law litigation. This is because information is exchanged more seamlessly as the parties have committed to providing full and frank disclosure. While adding professionals to the team might seem like an additional expense, these professionals make the process more streamlined. For example, joint financial specialists can provide valuations of assets and incomes rather than the divorce lawyers fighting over these issues in court.
Family law litigation often escalates conflict, fosters animosity, and has a devastating impact on children. Research tells us that it is the level of parental conflict, as opposed to the divorce itself, which causes significant negative consequences for children. High conflict can cause negative psychological, social and academic difficulties for children, and even impact brain development.
Collaborative Family Law is a child-centred process. It fosters open and respectful communication. In the collaborative process, the spouses can be supported by a neutral psychologist divorce coach, or individual divorce coaches, who help to improve communication, assist in developing parenting plans, and foster effective co-parenting. A child specialist can also be retained to give children a voice in the process and help develop strategies that meet their needs.
Holistic and Creative
Collaborative divorce tackles divorce holistically by recognizing that divorce is not just a legal process, as it also involves significant financial, social and emotional transitions for the spouses and any children. Unlike family court, the collaborative divorce process fosters holistic, creative, and customized solutions. These solutions are not confined to legal issues and often reflect non-legal considerations such as emotional, financial, and child-related matters. The process encourages the collaborative team to develop creative arrangements, tailored to suit the unique needs of the family.
Confidential and Private
Collaborative family law is a private and confidential process. The information and documents exchanged in the process are protected by the confidentiality terms of a participation agreement and cannot be used in divorce Court (with limited exceptions). In contrast, most information disclosed during family law litigation can be used in Court and is public.