Collaborative law is an up-and-coming alternative to traditional divorce litigation and court proceedings. As discussed in a previous post, there are many benefits to collaborative divorce; it allows you to talk through the issues with your spouse and to (hopefully) maintain a friendly relationship. But there are many issues with collaborative divorce. This post will go over the remaining potential issues.
One of the touted benefits is that collaborative divorce costs less than traditional divorce. However, this is only true if the process works. For example, for collaborative divorce to work you need to hire attorneys, experts to parse through the financial and property documents, and a mediator to bring you and your spouse together. If you can arrive at an agreement with your spouse, then it stays cheap. But if you are unable to agree, then you need to hire new attorneys and continue the process through a traditional divorce. Essentially, you end up waiting for money on the process.
Another issue that is you ties your attorney’s hands in the process. Before you engage in the collaborative process, both of you are required to have your attorneys sign agreements that they won’t file in court until a settlement is reached. You are forbidding your attorney from advocating on your behalf.
Finally, collaborative divorce limits your investigative powers. Under traditional divorce, you can serve subpoenas and discovery requests. But under collaborative divorce, each party produce the information. You are required to, partially, trust that your spouse is acting honestly. The mediator and the attorneys lack subpoena power. Therefore, they cannot compel production of documents or evidence.
As you can see, collaborative divorce works, but it isn’t for everyone. If you are considering a divorce, then you should speak to a lawyer at your earliest convenience. An attorney can go over the specifics of the divorce process with you so that you can weight the benefits of collaborative divorce versus other methods. You don’t need to handle this on your own, a lawyer can help you through this painful period.