How Do Collaborative and Traditional Divorce Differ?
It’s never an easy decision to seek a divorce. However, there are different options available for couples who find that they can no longer salvage their marriages. Traditional court divorce and collaborative divorce are among them, but it’s helpful to know the differences between them.
What Is Traditional Divorce?
With a traditional divorce, one spouse files for divorce against the other while the other spouse may not want the divorce at all. This often leads to court proceedings. When there is a lot of animosity between the parties, it can lead to an emotional, long, drawn-out situation that’s uncomfortable. This is especially the case if the marriage involves children.
After one spouse files for divorce, the other is served the papers and is required to answer. The reason for the divorce that is usually specified by the plaintiff in a no-fault divorce is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, although there are a number of “fault” grounds such as adultery if that is the path that is taken.
A traditional divorce involves disputes over many different matters within the marriage. It’s common for couples to disagree on issues like property division, spousal support or alimony, child custody and child support.
In traditional divorce proceedings, each spouse will likely want to have a divorce lawyer to represent them. The attorneys work hard to help the parties through the most important matters they cannot agree on. A judge makes the final decision on how property is distributed through the state’s equitable distribution laws. This means that all marital property and assets are divided fairly but not necessarily equally.
What Is Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative divorce is an alternative option for ending your marriage. If the couple has an amicable split, collaborative divorce can work as it allows them to work together with their respective family law attorneys to decide on all the pressing issues within the marriage. While working together, you can ultimately come to a settlement that works for you and your spouse.
Negotiation is the key to a collaborative divorce proceeding. The spouses and their respective lawyers have periodic meetings until they are able to reach an agreement and a settlement. However, with collaborative divorce, if you aren’t able to settle all matters and you proceed to litigation, your attorneys are required to withdraw from the case, you each will have to hire a new divorce lawyer, and your case ends up going to court.
How Do These Two Options Differ?
Traditional court divorces and collaborative divorce are considerably different. Collaborative divorce can only occur when a married couple is open to working together to settle things. It’s a better option for getting a divorce faster and is better as a whole for your family. It’s called “collaborative” because of the way that both parties work together.
Collaborative divorce is often confused with divorce mediation. While both give couples the option of working together to settle their divorce, collaborative divorce does not involve a neutral third party to help the parties reach an agreement. Legal advice comes from the attorneys, which is something this method shares in common with traditional divorce. Other professionals might also be brought in to assist in helping the parties reach an agreement on specific matters. These professionals have expertise in areas of concern within the marriage such as a financial advisor or child psychologist.
With a traditional divorce, it’s common for the spouses to argue and have heated battles on issues. Collaborative divorce allows for the free exchange of information while agreeing to work together to settle things. It is also generally a less-costly process than a traditional court divorce.
Is Collaborative Divorce Right for You?
Collaborative divorce might be right for you if you and your spouse are willing to work together to negotiate all the terms of the end of your marriage. If you want a process that’s faster, private and confidential and that protects your children, you can benefit from this alternative method. Collaborative divorce allows you and your spouse to both take control over the eventual outcome and settlement.
If you live in or near Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, and are interested in learning more about the collaborative divorce process, give the Law Office of Joanne Kleiner a call at (215) 886-1266. You can also contact us online, and we’re happy to set up an appointment for you.