One of the greatest concerns in moving forward with a divorce is how much it costs — this online article from the Fox Business site yesterday examines the question of “How to Make Your Divorce Cheaper.” As you might expect, collaborative law is discussed as one of the avenues.
Collaborative law proponents prefer the term “cost-conscious” or “cost-effective” to “cheaper” for several important reasons that underscore why collaborative law is a preferable alternative to traditional courtroom divorce.
For those who think cheaper implies getting something of lesser value for less cost — the “you get what you pay for” maxim — that’s simply not the case with collaborative law. Most collaborative lawyers have experience litigating family law cases, and will be strong, principled advocates for clients whether it’s a collaborative or a courtroom divorce.
The difference between those trained in collaborative law and those who aren’t is based on an additional set of principles — namely, wanting to help couples arrive at resolutions through discussion and negotiation together. They see the courtroom process as one where couples are adversarial and leave important, life-changing decisions to a judge, while seeing the collaborative process as one that’s more convenient, cost-conscious, family-focused, and confidential. In collaborative law, the lawyers are helping their clients work toward solutions that everyone signs off on — creating a situation where each person has input and buy-in to what’s agreed upon, rather than having those parameters based on who wins and who loses.
The Fox Business article runs through several financial advantages of collaborative law, including being able to use a single financial neutral or mental health professional (rather than each party hiring his or her own), and not having to pay your lawyer for the time you’re waiting for your turn on the divorce court docket. What the article doesn’t include is that, in addition to these being cost-conscious advantages, they’re also features of collaborative law that contribute to greater efficiency, less frustration, and greater peace of mind. While articles like this one focus on how to make divorce cheaper, collaborative law advocates ultimately look toward how to make divorce better.