"Money’s never mentioned
When speaking of romance
But say the word “divorce"
And you’re talking high finance"

- Charles Ghigna 

We, the U.S Financial Education Foundation, strongly believe in the virtue of the collaborative divorce due to its advantages on adversarial divorce.
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What is divorce?
A divorce is a civil action to terminate a marriage. It is also called dissolution of marriage.

Common methods used for divorce

Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative divorce is a method of handling all divorce related issues including dissolving the marriage itself, dividing properties, and handling issues related to children, outside the court system. It requires a specially trained team of professionals such as lawyers, mental health professionals, and financial professionals (appraisers, accountants, and/or custody evaluators) which gears up to help a couple understand what’s the major issue to solve and create durable solution that will work for every member of the family after the divorce. The voluntary process is initiated when the couple signs the Participation Agreement that participants won’t bring any matters to the court, or even threaten to, as long as the collaborative process continues. When the process breaks down, a couple may bring the issue to the court and have a judge resolve them, but any lawyer can be accompanied.
(Source: Pauline H. Tesler)

Adversarial Divorce

Adversarial divorce uses a court proceeding to dissolve a marriage as the participants are adversarial and unable to agree on the terms of divorce. The common areas of disagreement include grounds for divorce, custody of children, asset distribution, maintenance (alimony), and etc. During adversarial divorce, the judge grants the divorce and makes decisions about the disagreement between participants. Based on statistics, large numbers of participants are not satisfied or pleased with the judge’s decision.

Advantage of Collaborative Divorce

You and your spouse make the decisions, not a judge or lawyers
In a Collaborative Divorce, a couple makes the decisions through negotiation themselves unlike a judge resolving the divorce issues in litigation. While you and your spouse make decisions, the lawyers and other professionals on the team help you to gather the information, hear one another’s concerns, and consider wide range of options and consequences. Nothing is agreed to unless you are partner think it’s an acceptable solution. Lawyers don’t tell you how the issue should be resolved, but you and your partner figure out how it can be resolved, and it’s done respectively according to your own interests, concerns, needs, priorities, and values.

However, in litigation, the lawyers are in charge of resolving the divorce issue. When you bring in the issue, lawyers will handle the case the way they are trained to, and it will most likely lead to court where a judge resolve the issue, and you have no obligation to disagree.

Efficient in Welfare Distribution

Under Collaborative Divorce, you and your partner distribute the welfares like properties, funds, and cashes by yourself. Unlike litigation, which a judge distribute your welfares without concerning priorities or needs, you and your partner can negotiate the distribution based your needs and priorities. In that case, you are distributing your welfare efficiently.

Cheaper Cost of Process

Divorce through Collaborative method cost less than divorce through litigation since collaborative method avoids the multitude of steps, fees, and court costs. For instance, the lawyers will charge you less since they won’t charge for various documents, attendance at the court under collaborative divorce method.

Less Emotional Damage among families

The collaborative approach helps every member in a family come through the divorce with the least amount of trauma and distress. Since the parents aren’t fighting, the children adjust better.

Disadvantage of Adversarial Divorce

Although adversarial divorce is sometimes a necessity, it carries some huge disadvantages.

Enormous cost of the legal fees

Each party will be billed a huge amounts every time the lawyer spends time working on the case. Participants are billable for lawyer’s time spent on hearing, filing motions for disclosure of information, taking depositions and appearing at court proceedings. These fees often add up to thousands of dollars for an adversarial divorce.

Long processing time

It takes much more time than a typical uncontested divorce. The parties have to wait for a court date, and it take time to present their cases. If there is a problem, their case may need to be continued. Unlike typical divorces, participants have no control on the length of the process.

Emotion Devastation

The anger and frustration created from an adversarial divorce can ruin the emotion between the parties even worse. It is like adding fuel to the fire to an already strained relationship. For instance, testifying against your partner and hearing what your spouse says about you in order to win often leads to permanent separation between parties’ relationship.

(Source: Rocky Mountain Collaborative Law Professionals)



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