The Collaborative Divorce Process--Myths and Truths
After considering the timeline of Collaborative Divorce and the Pros and Cons of the Collaborative Divorce Process, it is important to consider some misconceptions about the process. Here is a sampling of “Myths and Truths” that I have encountered during my career:
MYTH 1: You will have “wasted your time and money” when it fails
TRUTH: Less than 5% of litigated cases make it through a trial with a Judge rendering a final decision. The key difference is that in getting to a final agreement via litigation the expenses are higher because the “stakes” are higher and there is more posturing. In the Collaborative Divorce Process, the posturing is removed and if there truly are insurmountable issues—you can submit those issues to an arbitrator after reasonably resolving all other issues incident to the divorce.
MYTH 2: It cannot work in “high-conflict” cases
TRUTH: High-Conflict cases fit perfectly into the Collaborative Model because of the team-oriented approach. The relevant issues are immediately addressed to professionals—and the team is built based upon the relevant issues. You can have a neutral divorce coach—or each party can have their own divorce coach. You can bring on a child specialist. You can have a financial neutral—or you can have each party retain their own financial representative. The possibilities are endless—and since the primary focus is to reach a resolution, you can use the “conflict” to your advantage in figuring out efficient, cost-effective ways of resolving the problems instead of wasting time/money/effort trying to blame the other for having caused the problems.
MYTH 3: You cannot effectuate “interim” change during a Collaborative Divorce absent the other parties’ consent
TRUTH: Technically, this is true. BUT—it is true in all modalities of divorce, including litigation. In the Collaborative Divorce Process, however, you and your spouse make a commitment to maintain the status quo until you agree otherwise. You also can commit and acknowledge that any future changes in your financial arrangements can be made retroactively, in order to preserve fairness while choosing to optimize your resources to finding final resolutions. In litigation—you and your spouse will take a detour, spend upwards of $8,000 in total, and still only have an Order entered “without prejudice” to a final determination.
There are many other misconceptions about the Collaborative Divorce Process—but it is important to recognize that there is no “perfect” solution to resolving your divorce. However, you can never forget that you do have options and making an informed decision about what process is best is a crucial first step in pursuing a divorce.