Generally, a collaborative divorce will save your clients money compared with litigation, but any divorce will still be costly. However, the value of a collaborative divorce extends far beyond it’s financial cost because it offers a divorce centered around common family values, it’s child centered, preserves family relationships, leads to sound financial decisions, creates better communication within the family, generates a smoother transition, offers diversified professionals to handle financial issues, parenting concerns, legal complexities, and creates less emotional stresses during the divorce.
Divorce Centered on Common Values. The clients determine their goals and interests, decide what’s important, make all final settlement decisions, and the team works to formulate resolutions that fit the client’s priorities. This means the clients can focus on common family values that produce a better settlement.
Child Centered. Engaging a child specialist gives children a voice in the divorce process, provides a professional assessment of their needs, and provides support and guidance to them during the divorce. Moreover, the children feel they are “heard” and have a voice in the divorce process.
Preserves Relationships. A healthy co-parenting relationship can be developed during the collaborative divorce process because clients learn to work together, don’t become adversarial as they would in a litigated divorce, and the parent-child relationship is preserved. Consequently, the children remain connected with both parents and there is no alienation in the family. A functioning co-parenting relationship allows the children to see their parents as a team even after the divorce and that leads to increased security and developmental success.
Sound Financial Decisions. Because the collaborative process is transparent, all financial information is shared and the clients know what they own and can make sound financial decisions about their future. Because they have complete financial information, they are better able to make decisions about their future, such as buying a new home, saving for retirement, and planning for the children’s college education.
Better Communication. Couples often don’t communicate well during their marriage and it can get worse during a divorce, especially if they engage in litigation and become adversarial. In a collaborative divorce, couples learn to share information in a calm manner and communicate their needs effectively and positively.
Smoother Transition. Many things change during and after a divorce. Support and coaching from the collaborative team can help clients set new boundaries, manage difficult emotions, transition to being effective co-parents, learn to manage disagreements, find ways to engage while building independent lives, and develop new skills with the support of the collaborative team.
Diversified Professional Team. A collaborative team has a financial professional who can help the clients deal with their money issues, a mental health professional to deal with parenting, and lawyers to handle their legal problems. This means that clients get better value for their dollar because each member deals with his or her own special area, shares information with the entire team, and everyone does what he or she knows best.
Less Stress. The collaborative team serves as a model for working together effectively as they guide the family through a divorce. The team can help the clients see each other as human beings with needs, weaknesses, and strengths. Working together as a team can help clients communicate, stay calm, and resolve their issues effectively.
Divorce is difficult and going to court to litigate a case is especially stressful. By avoiding court and dealing with all issues through interest-based negotiation, the collaborative divorce process lowers stress and helps clients become better parents and people.