Collaborative, mediation and co-mediation are private processes where the clients never go to court. These are completely private and confidential processes. Does that mean that no documents get filed with the Court? No, but when documents are filed with the Court such as a Marital Settlement Agreement or Stipulated Judgment, the documents may be just a skeleton containing the basic information required by the Court, with the clients receiving a further stipulated judgment with all of the details of their agreements that are only retained by the clients, in case they ever have to go back to court.
How does Litigation differ from the Collaborative process?
In the collaborative process as well as the mediation process, the goal is to educate our clients with legal and financial information so the clients can choose the best options available for them and their families. In litigation, attorneys are going to be arguing their clients’ positions in an attempt to obtain the best results from a positional standpoint, whether or not that’s the best option for you and your family unit.
The law is certainly one option in collaborative and mediation, but it’s not the only option. The clients can choose to use legal guidelines or they can work “outside of the box” on things like financial agreements to help their children after they are no longer minors, age 18. This support might include working out how to pay for their children’s college education, health insurance, car costs, etc., which the Court would not do.
In litigation, parties and their attorneys rely on the court because there are different arguments when it comes to the law. If there was only one way to look at the law, then no one would ever have to go to court. The judge can only do what he/she is legally bound to do, based upon the attorneys’ best arguments. Because of this, the clients lose control of making decisions in the litigation process.
Court can be WAY more expensive!
Another problem with going to court is that fees increase tremendously. Not only are there expert witnesses involved, but many times I’ve seen court dates vacated over and over, with no concern for the parties having to pay for their attorneys and witnesses to come back again and again.
I went to a Court hearing for temporary support last year where we were on calendar to be heard at 8:30 a.m. on a Wednesday. Since the court must take priority cases first, that particular day there were domestic violence cases, so the court told us to go outside and try to settle our case. We weren’t able to settle, so we had to come back on Thursday. Again the court couldn’t hear our case and we were told to come back Friday. While we were waiting to be heard, we finally settled the temporary support on that Friday, never being heard by the Court. In that case there were two forensic accountants, other expert witnesses, and attorneys all day Wednesday, Thursday and Friday – all getting paid for every hour of every day.
In a Collaborative process, a date and time is set for a meeting and everyone is ready to begin the meeting at that time on the scheduled date. Therefore, in this regard, the collaboration process is much more cost effective.
Collaborative practice allows the clients to choose what’s best for their family out of court in a private matter. No need to call in witnesses, no need to subpoena, no depositions, – it’s a respectful and peaceful way to get divorced.
Each client has his/her own attorney who is there for his/her client’s interests and concerns while working with everyone to arrive at the best outcome for the entire family.
Financial neutrals provide the clients with information and help simplify complicated financial issues so the clients can come to an informed decision when making financial agreements.
Mental Health Professional
Mental health professionals work on the clients’ communication skills, not only for coming to agreements throughout the process so they are heard but also, and more importantly when children are involved, to effectively co-parent the client’s children throughout the process and after the process is over.
Getting a divorce is a difficult decision, but making the process as peaceful and respectful as it can be for your family is the right decision.
Call Family Divorce Solutions today to find out if Collaborative Divorce will work for you.