As with any major life decision, people thinking about a divorce ask around, canvassing their friends. Are you glad you went ahead with your divorce? How has your life changed? What do you wish you had done differently?
It often turns out many of the answers are about money. That is surely one reason collaborative divorce continues to grow more popular decade after decade with each generation. It is typically and simply the less expensive choice.
Traditional divorce often delivers lasting sticker shock
The cost of divorce can sound like a bad deal to people of any age. They imagine themselves parting with a huge sum of money to also part with a relationship, more money and half of their things.
But for people who are old enough and well established with complicated assets, expenses grow. A house and cabin and other belongings may need appraisals, retirement savings may require a judge to divide them, and so on.
Pennsylvania endorses collaborative divorce
No wonder so-called “alternative dispute resolution” methods have long ago outgrown the name “alternative.” Divorcing couples now routinely and successfully use mediation, arbitration and other collaborative methods. Some states even require most couples to try such methods before turning to state divorce courts.
Advantages may only start with lower costs
Before beginning the process, the couple and their respective attorneys all sign an agreement together. It is a legal promise that they will work through the details of the divorce agreement until it is finally and truly complete.
In the relatively rare event that the couple cannot agree, and the attorneys do not see that they can help any further, the agreement legally binds the attorneys to end their involvement. They quit, and the couple can now try again or explore other, perhaps more traditional methods.
Usually, though, the couple benefits greatly from the pace the attorneys set and the context and focus they provide. With the stakes of each issue clarified, most couples can deal with the key issues and then move efficiently onto the next question.
Besides the speed of the process and its relatively low expense, couples usually remark on the low stress of the process, as well as the communication and negotiation skills collaborative law often builds.