You’re looking to get a divorce as quickly and as painlessly as possible but when it comes down to it, there are actually a few options. You will have friends or relatives who have gone through a collaborative divorce and who recommend it but you will also have heard horror stories of what can go wrong.
To put your mind at ease here are 6 disadvantages of a collaborative divorce so that you can weigh up whether it might be the right option for you both.
1. You must want the absolute best both for you and your spouse
Wouldn’t it be good if your divorce could be as happy as your wedding? As joyous as the day on which you got married? Impossible.
Well no, actually, it’s not. But, you have to want the absolute best for your spouse as well as yourself and, if you have them, your children as well. You have to put all your negative emotions away. Can you forgive infidelity, desertion, unkindness, cruelty, even?
2. You must already have overcome the negative aspects of what has gone wrong
It takes time to overcome all the difficult and unpleasant negative feelings that swim to the surface when one, or both, of you wants to leave a marriage but the collaborative process assumes you have already overcome all of that. That you are ready to sit around the table with not only your spouse but also his, or her, lawyer.
Why would you want to trust your spouse’s lawyer? You don’t even trust your spouse. Why would you? After all, hell hath no fury like the lawyer of a (wo)man scorned.
3. Openness and transparency is essential
You have to be completely upfront about all of your assets. About everything, actually. You might have found someone else and don’t want your spouse to know about that.
Openness, honesty and transparency are the watchwords of the collaborative process. Sometimes husbands and wives don’t want that. Do you?
4. It’s all a bit of a talking shop
In the collaborative process, you sign what is known as the participation agreement. In it you make promises to deal with all issues openly, honestly and fairly, to come to the meeting(s) with the highest of ideals, motives and intentions.
You promise you will neither threaten, nor apply to go to court. You are assured that this is YOUR process, but you’ve never gone through a divorce before. Isn’t it up to your solicitor to tell YOU what to do rather than the other way round?
Both solicitors tell you that you are trying to get to the solution where you have a win-win agreement but wouldn’t you really rather that your solicitor was fighting your corner, fighting for the very best possible deal for you? After all, you want everything you can possibly get, don’t you?
5. It is all privileged and everything that is talked about is ‘without prejudice’
You cannot use any of the agreements you might have already reached because the court is not allowed to know about them. And after you have already committed all that time and money?
6. If it is not successful you have to employ new solicitors
A crucial part of the participation agreement states that should you not be able to reach an agreement then you have to dispense with the services of the solicitors with whom you have built up a trusting relationship.
You might have already had two, three or four 4 way meetings. You’ve already invested heavily in this procedure, not only financially but also emotionally. You have to find another new and different lawyer to start all over again and not one from the firm your collaborative lawyer works for.
Is collaborative divorce right for you?
So, let’s allow an impartial judge decide what each of us is going to have. That’s got to be a better way, hasn’t it?
Not so. A judge will never understand the history of your marriage, your financial situation or what contributed to the end of your relationship. Allowing someone else to make these decisions for you is an incredibly risky strategy. The outcome could end up affecting you for many years, if not the rest of your life.
The collaborative process encourages separating couples to work together to make joint decisions about financial and children issues with their collaboratively trained lawyers. Financial planners and family consultants can also be involved in the meetings, if required, to help support and assist parties to reach constructive conclusions.
If you and your separating partner have the will to work together amicably to resolve issues, particularly where children are concerned, you may well find this process a breath of fresh air.
Are you considering getting a divorce? Download our free guide and find out the six key decisions you need to make.