ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a fairly new Ã¢â‚¬Å“movementÃ¢â‚¬Â gaining favor among divorce professionals. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s called collaborative divorce.
The core premise behind collaborative divorce is to avoid court at all costs. To do that, the divorcing parties hire a team of professionals representing several disciplines, including law, therapy and finances / taxes. The teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s job is to facilitate reaching a fair agreement on all issues.
Collaborative divorce is touted as being smoother and less expensive than traditional approaches to divorce.
Collaborative divorce is an excellent approach for many divorcing couples. But, at risk of being a naysayer, collaborative divorce may not be a good alternative in some situations.
As one example, if a couple is well along the path to a fair settlement agreement before a single professional is hired, the collaborative divorce approach may turn their divorce into a large group project that may end up costing the divorcing couple a lot more time and money than it may have otherwise.
At the other end of the spectrum, collaborative divorce may fail halfway there, where one spouse is abusive, controlling, manipulative, dishonest, secretive, unyielding, etc.
If the collaborative process does break down along the way, the couple will have to Ã¢â‚¬Å“fireÃ¢â‚¬Â the collaborative team, eat the expenses already incurred and start all over from scratch with brand new lawyers. Again, the divorce may end up costing the divorcing couple a lot more time and more money than it may have otherwise.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s easy for divorcing couples (and divorce professionals) to get caught up in the latest, greatest fad and jump on the bandwagon – in some cases to the point of rejecting any other approach out of hand.
Collaborative divorce may be right for you. Or it may not.
Before making a binding, exclusive commitment to any single approach, it makes sense to make your decision informed by a) your intimate knowledge of yourself and your spouse and your family as well as b) input from eclectic professionals or professionals who are open to whatever approach will best serve your interests in your circumstances.