Divorce, American Style, has been fodder for movies, court television, and sensational newspapers for decades. Two former lovers wage an expensive battle over property and children. Their life becomes an open book and their fate is decided by a judicial stranger.
Family law attorney, Lisa Zonder, is one of a growing number of attorneys offering a civil, more private method of ending marriage through collaborative divorce.
What are the differences between collaborative divorce and traditional divorce?
A. No court dates: Unlike traditional divorce, collaborative divorce does not require the parties to wait and wait for court dates, to show up in court at inconvenient times, and then to wait some more for the case to be called while the attorneys are on the clock and the bill is mounting. Couples meet with the collaborative divorce team in multiple private sessions scheduled at convenient intervals to negotiate the issues and come to agreements, generally in a much shorter period time than traditional divorce.
B. Degree of adversity: Traditional divorce sets up a scenario for winners and losers. Collaborative divorce attorneys work as part of a well-choreographed team to achieve win/win solutions for the couple. The team carefully reviews the questions that the parties need to answer, brainstorms options, and searches for collective discoveries from the clients and all team members in order to empower the clients to find the solutions to their problems so that they can begin positive new lifestyles.
C. Privacy: Testimony and evidence at court hearings usually becomes public record. Collaborative divorce sessions are private and do not become public knowledge.
D. Support from a team: Sometimes “dueling experts” are used in traditional divorce to dispute property values or offer differing opinions about children. These experts are costly. In collaborative divorce, you will have at your disposal a team of other collaborative professionals as needed for your situation. In a collaborative divorce, typically a single expert in each area (e.g., real estate appraiser, business appraiser) is agreed upon, thus reducing expenses and contention.
E. Cost and control: The ultimate advantage of collaborative divorce is probably the control and cost issue. Parties have a major say in the outcome that will influence the rest of their lives and the lives of their children. Working with an expert team, they negotiate agreements, rather than submitting to the authority of a judge. They will save money for their future bypassing an expensive court trial.
If you would like to speak to a collaborative divorce attorney about the possibility of collaborative divorce, call 1 (805) 231-5705 or toll free at 866-632-6459 to set up an appointment.