Is a Collaborative Divorce Right for You?
Dealing with a divorce is never fun, but it does not have to be frustrating and upsetting. Thanks to the innovative techniques of collaborative law, it is possible for divorcing couples to compromise and find win-win solutions. While the average collaborative split is completed four times faster than a litigated divorce, there are a few things you need to consider before deciding if you want to go with this option.
What Is a Collaborative Divorce?
Before you can decide if you want to follow this route, it is helpful to learn a little about what a collaborative divorce is. This type of separation uses concepts from mediation and traditional court divorces. It involves each party getting their own attorney, signing a contract agreeing to work together without involving the court, and then meeting with financial, legal, and child care specialists to negotiate a mutually beneficial agreement.
Does Divorce Type Affect Collaboration?
If this sounds good to you, it is time to figure out whether you qualify for a collaborative divorce in Pennsylvania. In the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, divorces can be divided into three basic categories:
- Mutual consent divorces where both people agree to the split
- At-fault divorces where one party is in the wrong
- Separation divorces where the couple has been separated for at least two years
Legally speaking, a divorce based on mutual consent or spouses living separately can be done collaboratively. By definition, an at-fault divorce requires a hearing before a judge to prove that one spouse is at fault. Therefore, you cannot get a collaborative divorce if you want to pursue this route.
Does Your Spouse Have to Agree to Collaboration?
Like the name implies, this style of divorce only works when both parties are willing to collaborate with each other. You and your spouse both have to agree to work together without involving the court. This means that you might have to put aside old arguments or hurt feelings. For the process to work properly, you both need to be ready to communicate with each other. A collaborative divorce is more likely to work when both parties want to cooperate with each other and focus on providing for their children’s well-being and equitably splitting joint property. Though a collaborative divorce is a great option, it usually will not work if one partner is abusive, does not want a divorce, or wants to make things unpleasant for their ex. If you try a collaborative divorce with someone like this, you may end up having to give up, get new attorneys, and settle the situation in court.
Do You Prefer a Convenient and Cost-Effective Divorce?
The final step in deciding if a collaborative divorce will work for you is figuring out whether you want to receive the benefits of working with a collaborative divorce lawyer. Statistics show that a typical litigated divorce will cost around $14,000 to complete. The average collaborative divorce will cost closer to $9,000. If your main goal is getting back at your spouse or taking all their money, collaboration is not for you. However, you may decide to work with a collaborative divorce lawyer if you want to:
- Save time and money on your divorce
- Avoid a court case where you have to share personal information in public
- Create an agreement that works for you and your family
- Find unique solutions instead of having a judge give you a one-size-fits-all ruling
- Keep a positive and emotionally healthy mindset
- Avoid petty arguments and accusations
Situated in Jenkintown, Joanne Kleiner & Associates is committed to helping the residents of Montgomery, Bucks, and Philadelphia counties with the divorce process. Our lead attorney has spent over 25 years refining collaborative law and other techniques that help provide a more efficient, stress-free, and budget-friendly divorce. Give us a call at (215) 886-1266 or fill out our online contact form to learn more about how we can help you.