Divorce can be extremely emotional for children. The anxiety caused by watching parents fight can scar children for a long time. The litigation process is one way to resolve differences in a divorce, but the adversarial process takes its toll on everyone, especially children. It can also leave parents bitter toward each other, making it difficult to work together on issues affecting the children in the future or to attend children’s events and milestones.
A relatively new area of the law is called collaborative law, and it is built on a process of cooperation and working together toward a solution, rather than an adversarial process that pits the parties against each other. With collaborative law, family law and divorce issues (including child custody issues) are resolved by having the parties and their lawyers work to a mutually acceptable resolution. To facilitate the process, the parties and their lawyers sign an agreement stating that none of the attorneys working in the collaborative process can participate in later litigation if the collaborative process fails.
This agreement ensures that everyone has something to lose and nothing to gain in the event of failure. This way, everyone is working toward successfully resolving all issues relating to the divorce and children.
How Do Children Benefit from the Collaborative Divorce Process?
Parents and children both benefit from the collaborative law process in a divorce. A collaborative divorce includes the following benefits for children:
The children’s parents have more of a say in the final agreement — In divorce litigation, a judge determines what is in the best interests of the child or children. However, in a collaborative divorce, the parents make that determination. Because the parents typically know better than a judge what is in the best interests of their children, the children benefit from the collaborative process.
A collaborative divorce is less stressful on the children — The children see their parents working together to resolve differences rather than putting the child in the middle of a fight or making the children choose sides. This can be a valuable lesson for them when they become adults, too.
A collaborative divorce is typically less expensive than litigation — This cost-effectiveness benefits the children by ensuring the parents have more resources and funds to spend on the children and their quality of life.
A collaborative divorce is typically faster than litigation — Because of the efficiency and speed of a collaborative divorce, everyone, including the children, can move on with their lives. In addition, the speed of a collaborative divorce also means the process will be less stressful on everyone, including the children.
These are some of the benefits of utilizing the collaborative law process to facilitate a divorce. Although a collaborative divorce may not be for everyone, it is certainly an option worth exploring with your attorney, especially if you have children.
Contact an experienced family law attorney who has knowledge of and a background in collaborative divorce to ensure you receive accurate information and are in a position to make an informed decision about the best way to proceed.
At Joanne E. Kleiner & Associates, Jenkintown family law attorney and divorce lawyer Joanne Kleiner has a background in and understanding of the collaborative law process. She is also a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) and the Bucks County Collaborative Law Group. She has more than 25 years of family law experience and is a certified mediator. If you are considering divorce, or if you have been served divorce papers in southeastern Pennsylvania (Montgomery, Bucks or Philadelphia Counties), Ms. Kleiner can provide you with the information and advice you need to make an informed decision about your and your children’s future.
Schedule a confidential consultation with a divorce and family law attorney who understands the collaborative divorce process and resolving issues relating to children by calling 215-886-1266. Or, fill out our intake form and we will contact you. The decisions you make today really will affect your future. Let us help you make those decisions intelligent and informed.