Collaborative or Litigation?
Wondering which approach to divorce is right for you? Let me help.
While I practice both and have been an attorney for more than 30 years, I always prefer Collaborative Divorce if it’s a possibility, and I’ll tell you why.
First, Collaborative Divorce is a more humane approach to dissolving a marriage. Both parties and their attorneys agree to a team approach to divorce. There will also be divorce financial planners, therapists, divorce coaches or someone just looking out for the kids present, and we all work together toward the common, shared outcome of the entire family. It’s not easy, but it is definitely satisfying and less stressful for all involved.
However, I realize not every divorcing family is cut out for a Collaborative process. If one person is playing dirty, wants to pull a fast one and take all the money or property, or is otherwise dishonest, untrustworthy, or downright abusive, Collaborative Law is not the answer.
For it to work, both clients have to be completely transparent and trust the process. We ask our Collaborative Divorce clients to put hurt feelings and bitterness aside in favor of the bigger picture and best interests of their family. Many people are just not ready, or not able, to be this forward thinking when the idea of divorce is so fresh.
In those cases, and in cases where someone is mean, dishonest, or abusive, litigation may be the preferred path. That’s a hard-lined, no-nonsense approach to family law that argues your case relentlessly until the clients agree to an outcome usually through mediation or a judge in court decides on the outcome following a trial.
Trial is the last step in the litigation, it is the process we go through when the parties cannot resolve the issues through any other means – be it mediation, arbitration, negotiation, or settlement reached in their attorneys’ offices. There are many couples who don’t get along and don’t play fair who are still able to agree on a settlement, guided by well-meaning, sharp attorneys. Trial, as part of the litigation process, is not always necessary.
Litigation is a valuable tool in the right situations.
Regardless of which path you choose for your divorce, remember to take the high road and truly listen to your lawyer’s recommendations. We’ve seen so many cases in the family law arena, and we know what is needed to arrive at a livable, workable settlement that will benefit you and your family.