Who is eligible for Collaborative Divorce?

Who is eligible for Collaborative Divorce?

There is a common misconception that the collaborative divorce process requires a divorcing couple to be friendly and in agreement on most of the issues in question. The reality is that the collaborative process is an excellent option for resolving family law issues, even in cases where there is considerable disagreement and conflict.

Another myth is that the spouses must be “collaborative” to have a collaborative divorce. The reality is that collaborative divorce can accommodate many types of personalities and relationships. The collaborative process can even be successfully employed in high-conflict cases, provided the couple is willing to engage in good faith negotiations and refrain from going to court.

However, while collaborative family law has tremendous benefits, it is not right for everyone. Collaborative Family Law may not be right for you if:

  • There is a history of family violence.
  • There is a significant power imbalance between you and your spouse.
  • You believe that you cannot negotiate safely or fairly with your spouse, even with professionals present.
  • You require urgent relief such as an emergency protection order, restraining order, exclusive possession of the family home, or a non-removal order preventing your spouse from leaving the province with your children.
  • You are concerned that your spouse might be hiding or dissipating assets, or there is a history of hiding financial information.
  • You expect your lawyer to advocate for you in an aggressive manner and take an adversarial approach. 
  • Your spouse does not agree to engage in the collaborative divorce process or you have serious concerns that your spouse might terminate the process and start a court action.

In some cases, mediation, mediation/arbitration, or arbitration may be a more suitable alternative dispute resolution process. In other cases, hiring a family lawyer to go to court may be the best option. If you are unsure whether the collaborative divorce process is right for you, contact our collaborative family lawyers in BC and Alberta for your free consultation.