The collaborative divorce process involves the two of you, and your respective collaborative lawyers, meeting together, to exchange information, come to an understanding of what is most important to each of you, and craft solutions, with the help of your attorneys, that meet the specific needs and interests of your family, without ever going to court.
The contractual promise to resolve family issues without going to court provides a clear incentive, for attorneys and clients alike, to be serious and focused on the process of settling the file. The atmosphere in collaborative negotiations is one of problem-solving, without the legal posturing and arm-twisting that are hallmarks of negotiations in litigation files. The deal that results from collaborative divorce negotiations is a “win-win” outcome, similar to mediation, one important difference being that in collaborative negotiations you benefit from having your attorney being present with you every step of the way.
Family mediation provides a safe space for you and your partner to talk out all of the issues needing to be addressed in your divorce. Family mediators are trained negotiators, who have knowledge of family law, and can facilitate your constructive communication in a neutral, unbiased, atmosphere. The mediator will provide you with information, help the two of you brainstorm different options for settlement, and ultimately give you a written blueprint of all of the decisions you and your partner have made. As with collaborative divorce, you can then get your divorce judgment without ever setting foot in a court room.
Litigation–going to court to ask a judge to make the important decisions in your divorce– is the well-known method of resolving disputes that has been highly glamourized, on TV and in the movies. In these fictional portrayals of litigation there is a clear distinction between “good” and “evil”, the good side always wins, and everyone looks really good doing their job. We all know, however, that real life issues are much more complicated. In reality, litigation is expensive, and is progressively drifting out of the reach of many. Besides the high financial costs of preparing a file for court, there are frequently other significant costs –emotional and psychological costs–to the extended family, the partners, and in particular, to their children. Litigation is gradually becoming an outmoded way of resolving disputes of all genres, and particularly in family files, there are better options to help resolve family issues.