It’s easy to see why traditional divorce lawyers might be intimidated by the collaborative divorce process. It’s shorter than the traditional process. It saves money. And it saves stress on both spouses and any children involved. The traditional process is drawn-out and can often cause unnecessary additional emotional and financial strain on the parties involved.
Because of this, there are many myths about the collaborative divorce process that you may hear. But don’t let pessimism on the part of traditional divorce lawyers sway you. While collaborative divorce may not be for every couple, it’s a terrific option that divorcing spouses will need to consider. In fact, the New Jersey Family Court Rules will soon be amended to require such consideration by parties who file an action for divorce in court.
Here are three of the most common collaborative divorce myths that aren’t true:
You Need To Be On The Same Page
Many people believe that in order for collaborative divorce to work, you need to have most of the custody and financial issues resolved beforehand. This isn’t true. In fact, if both parties were completely on the same page, collaborative divorce wouldn’t be necessary.
Having an agreement on some major issues is a great start, but even the lack of any common ground can be overcome if both sides are willing to work. The only prerequisites required for a successful collaborative divorce is an open mind, a willingness to trust the process, and an agreement to NOT litigate your case in court. You’re going to be working with a team of professionals to help you figure out solutions that makes sense for both parties. Listening to them without bias will ultimately ensure success in the end.
It’s a Difficult Process
It’s true that collaborative divorce, like any divorce, isn’t an easy process. Getting divorced is rarely simple. But collaborative divorce is the best process if you want to save time and stress. You just have to be willing to put a little bit of time and work into it.
Unlike traditional divorce cases, a collaborative divorce agreement isn’t decided by a judge. It’s an agreement achieved by the two parties, their two lawyers and, if necessary, financial and mental-health professionals.
It might sound like a lot of effort, but it’s actually much easier than the traditional route. The lack of lengthy court proceedings reduces the overall time the divorce process takes, making the effort well worth it.
Collaborative Divorce is Too Expensive
Many people mistakenly believe that since there are additional professionals involved in a collaborative divorce, the costs will be very expensive. This, however, is not the case because you’re not litigating in court, quickly racking up the legal fees. Each spouse needs one lawyer to represent them, but the rest of the team consists of non-legal professionals, such as a financial advisor, divorce coach, and/or parenting specialist. These professionals take the place of judges and mandatory economic mediators, who may command a much higher fee, and are used only if and as needed.
It’s also important to remember that the collaborative divorce process is shorter than a traditional divorce. Without many court proceedings, it can be finished much quicker. This also helps save a significant amount of money throughout the process.
In the end, a collaborative divorce will only be as successful as the parties involved. You don’t need to trust your spouse completely, but you both need to be willing to work hard and disclose everything. If you’re able to come to the table with an open mind and a desire to negotiate, you’ll be able to make the divorce process much smoother.