Here’s an understatement: Divorce is expensive.
Are kids in the picture? Are there a lot of assets to address? What about complicated retirement accounts, or some items that were owned prior to the divorce that might have been commingled? Do you think the process will become lengthy?
If you have answered “yes” to any of these, then it is likely to add to the total cost of the divorce. Then there is the emotional toll that the divorce is likely to take on everyone involved, which can be a significant cost in and of itself weeks, months and even years after everything has been finalized.
One way to finalize a divorce while being mindful of cost is to use the Collaborative Divorce process. Here’s a closer look at Collaborative Divorce and how it can help keep proceedings on track and reduce both the financial and emotional costs.
Collaborative Divorce 101
Collaborative Divorce is often much less expensive than working solely through attorneys to come to an agreement. In the collaborative process there is neutral financial professional and a neutral communication coach (“divorce coach”) along with the attorneys. These additional professionals help to resolve different issues and represents a cost savings in a couple of ways. One, these neutral professionals often come at a lower per-hour cost than the attorneys. Two, couples split the cost of these professionals, making it even more of an attractive option.
Aside from the cost benefits, there are other advantages of taking a more collaborative approach to your divorce. Here’s a look:
- In-person discussion: With the litigation model, the parties still need to attend mediation (often with their attorneys present) prior to going to trial. In addition to the potentially significant costs incurred at mediation with the attorneys present, there are a lot of phone calls, emails, documents that are drafted and reviewed, as well as court appearances that can run up costs significantly. When you collaborate with professionals in their field on financial and parenting issues to help formulate an agreement, you are doing it either in person or via video conferencing. Since these professionals are specialists in their fields, they are often more effective, especially when face-to-face.
- Much less back and forth: To piggyback off the above point, collaborative negotiations are done in person or via a Zoom meeting. This means there is far less back and forth and the practice enables both sides to come to an agreement more effectively than the alternative. Collaborating in person allows both parties to clear lay out the issues so an agreement has the potential to be reached in a more effective manner. Because there is no lag time in waiting for a response, everyone is more focused and can come to agreements more quickly.
- Professionals: Attorneys often wear many hats when it comes to a divorce case; they can act as a counselor or coach, they can act as a financial advisor, they can advise as to what may be best for the children. In the collaborative practice, instead of having an attorney trying to manage all of these different aspects, they instead oversee a lot of this work, while allowing a counselor to do the counseling, allowing a child specialist to advise as to what the best parenting plan is for the children, and allowing a financial advisor to do the advising as to the assets. These specialists often have lower hourly rates, and can offer some great insight that attorneys might overlook, especially when trying to wear so many different hats.
- It’s faster: Aside from cost, you can also save time and energy by taking a more collaborative approach to your divorce. You can set the stage for working together and come to a more amicable agreement without having to prepare for a lengthy court battle. This is even more true during the COVID19 Crisis. The courts are currently closed to anything that is not an emergency and when they re-open will have a backlog that will prevent many divorces cases from being heard for months to come, and potentially over a year, depending on how long it takes to get everything back on track. The Collaborative Divorce process enables couples to proceed with their divorce and to move on with their post-divorce lives without having to wait for the court’s schedule to open up.
For more information on the benefits of collaborative divorce, contact us today.
Divorce is already expensive enough, let us help you take some of the financial burden off of your family’s shoulders, while also presenting you with a variety of other benefits by taking this route with your divorce.