Collaborative Family Law - 11 Potential Benefits:
Collaborative Family Law Benefit #1 - Your business stays your business:
People often don’t realize that their matter is public when they go to court. Anyone from the public can sit in on your proceedings. You have no choice about that.
So, if you don’t want the private and intimate details of your family life before the eyes of others, you might want to consider a collaborative divorce.
Collaborative Family Law Benefit #2 - You get on with your life sooner:
Court proceedings take a long time. Way longer than you might expect. Even if you do manage to schedule a date, your case might get “bumped” because of other matters.
The courts book more trials and hearings than there are available judges and courtrooms.
They do that because matters often “settle on the courthouse steps." The court system is set up for the convenience of judges and the court calendar, not for people who are going through a separation.
Collaborative Family Law Benefit #3 - Why Not Keep Your Hard-Earned Resources for You and Your Family :
Although collaborative family law is one specific type of dispute resolution, there are other, more general types of collaborative dispute resolution, such as mediation, four-way meetings, and mediation/arbitration.
The point is this: When you use collaborative dispute resolution, these methods tend to be much more cost-effective than the traditional adversarial methods like the court. Collaborative family law can be way less than court.
Collaborative Family Law Benefit #4 - Did we mention the stress?
Getting divorced is hard enough, why add a bunch of additional turmoil because of the process you are using?
Collaborative family law tends to be much less stressful than court proceedings.
Because collaborative family law is based upon the whole idea of people working together to see their matter resolved, it is, by definition, less combative than the more traditional adversarial route of family law.
Collaborative Family Law Benefit #5 - Why hand important decisions about yours (and your children’s) future to a complete stranger?
When you utilize collaborative family law, you can continue making decisions about what is best for your changing family. You work with your ex and the lawyers to come up with scenarios that work for everyone.
Don’t you think that is way better than handing over important decisions about your family to a stranger?
As well you get to control the process and timing in a flexible way. The court is not flexible.
Collaborative Family Law Benefit #6 - Good luck on ever having a reasonable relationship with your ex if you have gone to court against each other.
Collaborative dispute resolution is great practice. Chances are, you and your ex are going to have to communicate with each other at least to a certain extent in future. This is particularly the case when you have kids.
The collaborative family law process can help you and your ex improve communication.
Because you are working together for the benefit of your whole family, this way of communication and moving forward has a greater likelihood of continuing after your matter is resolved.
Collaborative Family Law Benefit #7 - It is future-focused:
“Focus on the Future, Not the Fight”
-- Rebecca Alleyne, mediator and all around forward-thinking person.
You are engaging in collaborative family law because you are getting separated and divorced.
If your family were highly functional, you would not be here. So, we know that already.
However, in family law matters it is very easy to focus on what happened in the past rather than creating a better future. In collaborative family law you have a way better opportunity to focus on the future. To get on with your life and move forward rather than fighting about the past. Fighting about the past does nothing to move you forward.
Collaborative Family Law Benefit #8 - It uses a team approach:
There are many collaborative family law professionals, not just lawyers. For example, if someone has a relatively complex financial situation, the parties might want to bring in a financial advisor for assistance.
One thing we have found very useful is to utilize parenting experts. There is one in particular in our city that I find very helpful. Rather than lawyers fighting back and forth about which client is to have more parenting time, the parenting expert can focus on what serves children's best interests. The parenting expert can also coach parents to better understand how to meet their children’s needs.
We recall one case where we worked with a parenting expert:
In that case, the father, I will call Joe, had a baby with his girlfriend. I will call her Janice. Joe and Janice loved their child very much, but they separated when their baby was less than a year old. Janice, who was a first-time mother, was worried that Joe was not capable of looking after the baby. Janice only wanted Joe to have very limited parenting time and no overnights. Joe felt that despite their separation, the baby deserved an active and engaged father, as well as her mother. Joe and Janice could not agree as to the parenting plan. They were heading to stressful and expensive litigation.
Because Janice and Joe engaged in a collaborative dispute resolution process, we recommended they engage the services of a parenting expert.
After working with the parenting expert, they agreed upon a parenting arrangement.
They are now co-parents and their child has a meaningful relationship with both of her parents.
Collaborative Family Law Benefit #9 - Kid-Focussed:
If you have kids, collaborative family law allows you to move away from the tug-of-war scenario between two parents.
When parents are in conflict, kids feel it! It impacts their well-being.
This video says it best. Collaborative family law allows your kids to get on with the job of being kids.
Collaborative Family Law Benefit #10 - It's voluntary:
Parties tend to do better when not forced into it. If you are taking it to court, your matter will proceed whether or not you participate.
When using collaborative dispute resolution methods, people are more likely to participate, and they are more likely to participate in a way that increases the likelihood for a better future for themselves and their children.
Collaborative Family Law Benefit #11 - The Lawyers tend to be, well, better lawyers!
To qualify as a collaborative divorce lawyer, lawyers must take significant and additional training that goes way beyond law school. That training is in all kinds of collaborative dispute resolution, including interest-based mediation and negotiation.
Once lawyers go through that additional training, they tend to be better lawyers, better prepared, and able to get their clients better results with less money spent on legal fees.
Collaborative law is a very specific process. It is a powerful one that can get people to powerful resolutions; however, there are some potential downsides: