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Collaborative Divorce vs Traditional Litigation

The types of divorce that are available to couples are greater than you might imagine. Another option was added this year in the form of collaborative divorce. A number of states recognize this form of ending a marriage. For some couples, collaborative divorce offers a much better way to end a marriage than the traditional process.

The idea behind collaborative divorce is that some couples have the maturity to break off a relationship on mutually-acceptable terms without involving the courts. A couple that wishes to undergo collaborative divorce meets with a lawyer who has training in the practice. That lawyer will have additional professionals, like mental health professionals and accountants, to assist the couple with processing their feelings and coming to acceptable terms that are within the limits of the law.

Collaborative divorce does offer some strong advantages if the couple is mature enough to undergo the process. First, you and your spouse control the decision making. The professionals you hire are there merely to assist you in making decisions and coming up with a plan that’s acceptable to law. They assist with communication issues when you and your spouse can’t or won’t talk directly, but their goal is to facilitate a conversation between you and your spouse about coming to an agreement.

Second, it’s a way of ending a divorce that comes out of mutual respect for each other, unlike the adversarial relationship of a traditional divorce. Some couples fear getting a divorce even if things aren’t working because they still have a lot of good feelings about their spouse. They don’t want to see their spouse as an enemy; they just want to end the marriage cleanly. Collaborative divorce gives them that option.

Third, it’s often less expensive than a traditional divorce, so long as the process works. If a collaborative divorce fails, all of the professionals involved are prevented from participating in further divorce proceedings. Thus, the couple will still have to pay their fees and start all over again with a new set of lawyers.

Another advantage is that the process is private. Divorce proceedings are part of the public record. For couples that don’t want their dirty laundry aired or prefer privacy, collaborative divorce is a way of getting a divorce without revealing those details. It’s also voluntary. The state cannot force you to try collaborative divorce, and if negotiations do break down either party can pull out of the process and start a traditional divorce.

Ultimately, collaborative divorce gives couples the power to decide how to end their marriage instead of having the court decide for them. This gives the couple flexibility and privacy to decide their future course. Collaborative divorce is often called “divorce for adults.” If you feel you and your spouse are mature enough to end your marriage by direct negotiation, you may want to consider hiring a lawyer that specialized in this form of divorce. If you feel that your divorce needs would best be met in a traditional manner, give our offices a call.

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