I get many calls from potential clients asking me about collaborative divorce. Typically, the parties do not have many or significant disputes, they want to work the divorce out themselves at their own pace and with good business judgment, and they do not want to fight or engage in a contentious process. What they are surprised to learn is that you do not have to be in a formal “collaborative” divorce process to accomplish these goals.
Other divorce processes, including litigation, can also be utilized with this same mindset. The parties are in charge of the divorce mindset, not the attorneys. Collaborative divorce is one process to get information exchanged, engage in discussions and negotiations, and ultimately reach a final decree to present to the Court.
Litigation, arbitration, and other processes can also be utilized with this same mindset, they are just different processes. The process, whatever it may be, can be effectively used by parties not wishing to fight or suffer drama so long as the parties have a mindset and goal to remain amicable.
The important distinction to understand is that “collaborative” is not just a process, but an attitude. Divorce is only as dramatic as the parties want it to be or let it be. There are a myriad of processes available to get through the divorce process, including litigation, collaborative divorce, cooperative divorce (a hybrid of litigation and collaborative divorce), uncontested divorce, and private arbitration.
Which process is best for a particular divorce varies since every divorce is different. Remember that whatever the process, any divorce can be collaborative if the parties want it to be.