In a Divorce process, couples typically have two main options: Litigation or the Collaborative Law Process. Each approach has its own set of pros and cons, and Collaborative Divorce is often considered a better option for avoiding an acrimonious divorce and for maintaining a healthy family dynamic. Let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of both methods and highlight why Collaborative Law can be beneficial to Clients who are goal centered and focused on solutions rather than conflict.
Below are Pros and Cons of Litigation:
Legal representation: During Litigation, each spouse has their own attorney who advocates for their interests in the litigation process.
Court decision: If the spouses cannot reach an agreement, a Judge makes decisions regarding property division, Timesharing (formerly known as Child Custody) and other matters. This can provide a sense of finality and closure, although with a decision that was not necessarily what at least one of the Clients wanted.
Impersonal process: For some couples, the adversarial nature of litigation allows them to feel that they have an opportunity to “win” in the litigation.
Costly: Litigation can be expensive due to Court fees, Attorney fees, and the potential need for Expert witnesses. It can also be costly in terms of emotions, stress and family relationships.
Potential lengthy timeline: Court schedules and the complexities of Litigation can significantly prolong the Divorce process for months if not years.
Strained relationships: The argumentative nature of Litigation can worsen conflict and negatively impact the relationship between the spouses, making Co-Parenting and future interactions not only very difficult immediately after the litigation but for years to come. This can increase the likelihood of further litigation in the future for Contempt, Enforcement and Modification actions.
Cooperation and open communication: Each member of the Collaborative Team (two Collaboratively Trained Family Law Attorneys, a Mental Health Neutral and a Financial Neutral) encourage spouses to work together and put the needs of their minor children first, promoting respectful and transparent communication to reach mutually beneficial goals and agreements.
Privacy: Collaborative Divorce proceedings are confidential, providing a more discreet alternative to litigation. Financial documents are not filed with the Court and are not made part of the public record.
Customized solutions: Choosing the Collaborative Process allows couples to find unique solutions a Court is not permitted to Order, that best suit their specific needs and those of their children. A Mental Health Neutral acts as the Facilitator during Collaborative Team Meetings and prioritizes positive results. The Financial Neutral produces all the necessary financial documents often at far less cost than the Attorneys would charge in the Litigation process.
Cost-effective: In general, Collaborative Divorce tends to be less expensive than Litigation, financially, emotionally and in terms of damage to the family and children, as it often involves less conflict and fewer traditional legal procedures.
No court decision: If the Collaborative Process is unsuccessful, both parties may need to start the Litigation process with new Attorneys, unless they have chosen the Cooperative Process which allows the Attorneys to continue on with the Clients.
Requirement for cooperation: Collaborative Divorce heavily relies on the willingness of both parties to collaborate in a transparent way in the best interest of the entire family. If one spouse is uncooperative or adversarial, the process may break down.
Why Collaborative Law can be a better option for maintaining a healthy family dynamic:
Focus on cooperation: Collaborative Divorce prioritizes cooperation and open communication, allowing couples to address their concerns and find mutually agreeable solutions. This approach promotes a healthier post-divorce relationship, which is especially beneficial when minor children are involved. And agreements reached this way are more likely to be followed in the future than when decisions are imposed on the spouses by a third party like a Judge.
Minimized conflict: By avoiding the adversarial nature of Litigation, Collaborative Divorce reduces conflict and fosters a more amicable separation. This can positively impact Co-Parenting and ongoing interactions between the former spouses.
Child-centric approach: Collaborative Law places emphasis on the well-being of children and encourages parents to work together to create a Parenting Plan that reflects the best interests of their children.
Confidentiality: Collaborative Divorce provides a private and confidential space for discussions, minimizing public exposure and potential damage to family relationships.
Three of our Orlando Family Law Attorneys are Collaboratively trained and available to guide our Clients through the Collaborative and Cooperative processes. Moving forward with Collaborative Law can help maintain a healthier family dynamic during and after divorce, focusing on effective communication, intentional cooperation, and the well-being of everyone involved.
If you would like to schedule a consultation to learn more about Collaborative Law in Florida, contact us.
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