Over the past 16 years as an attorney, I have experienced many high-level litigated divorces.
I have seen firsthand how court divorces divide and destroy families, most often leaving deep emotional and financial scars that are carried throughout the rest of the lives of a divorced couple. It is so disheartening to see this happen over and over.
But it doesn’t have to be this contentious. Through the collaborative divorce process, there is a gentler and harmonious way to dissolve a marriage.
The collaborative divorce process believes in preserving the family unit. A team of experts of attorneys, neutral financials, divorce coaches and mental health experts works with couples to divorce in a way that keeps the family unit intact for years to come.
I recently worked with a divorcing couple who found an impasse in the financial part of their divorce agreement. The wife claimed that her husband took a great deal of money from a local community retirement account and spent it. It was a major stumbling block, as you can imagine.
While this issue had a bumpy beginning, it had an agreeable ending, and this would not have happened in a litigated court divorce.
The spouse was able to show his wife’s team the dollar amount that he started with at the beginning of their marriage and could also confirm there was no monkey business or that the funds were removed from their financial landscape during the marriage.
He informally provided this financial documentation to the collaborative attorneys, and after reviewing the documentation, the wife was satisfied, and the divorce process continued.
Had this stumbling block played out in the courtroom, it would have had a completely different process and most likely would have cost the couple more time and money.
When couples are working together in a collaborative divorce, it seems they are more honest and more willing to give up documents pursuant just to a request, without subpoenas, service, or pulling teeth to get documentation.
Because the couple made an informal request during the collaborative process, it was MUCH less expensive to provide the documents through collaboration versus litigation.
I often see trust erode and take longer to resolve with litigated divorces, and most often do not produce peaceful and respectful resolutions and agreements.
Because each client has agreed to stay away from court and litigation, both attorneys can trust each other, and everything goes better.
In the above example, the wife was even gracious when she found out she was wrong. It was a true testament to how the collaborative divorce process works toward peaceful resolutions without destroying the family unit in the process.
After this financial stumbling block was resolved transparently, the entire matter went smoothly and much quicker – Everyone was satisfied with the outcome.
The lesson learned in this experience is that when a divorce utilizes the collaborative divorce process, the attorneys can work together. It facilitated trust between the spouses and allowed them to move forward together and not separately in drafting a divorce agreement that was amicable between the two of them.
I am happy to be providing collaborative divorce services to allow people to have a more respectful and peaceful divorce as everyone deserves.