Save money AND stress!
There are those couples who just can't come to a resolution because their strong emotions are in control of their decisions. A judge is necessary in resolving these cases, but many of these couples leave completely unsatisfied and even MORE depressed after this stressful hearing.
For those who are willing to work together to come to a swift and less stressful settlement, collaborative divorce is the best, most sensitive option.
As attorney Katherine Miller explains, "A collaborative divorce is a voluntary, out-of-court process in which the parties have the support of their own attorneys as well as the opportunity to work with mental health professionals and financial professionals so that we can address all the myriad of issues that arise in untangling the marital relationship."
The goal of these meetings is to come to a reasonable settlement on each party's terms with their emotions and financial needs in mind. While the emotional aspect is considered, it's used to collaboratively create terms of the divorce in a more empathetic, caring and controlled manner that'll benefit everyone involved.
Because of its calmer nature, collaborative divorce has become a more widely accepted and sought after divorce process in the U.S. and abroad. It has even made a significant impact on the harsh U.S. court divorce systems. According to Elaine McArdle of New York Magazine, "[Collaborative divorce] is gaining powerful supporters: New York's Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye has created a Matrimonial Commission that is studying ways to improve the state's divorce process including collaborative law."
Elayne E. Greenberg, a family practice lawyer in Great Neck, NY, explains to New York Magazine why there is an increase in support of this heartfelt process: "The reality is, divorce is a part of life, and people are realizing that how you divorce helps define the next chapter of your life. So savvy people are more and more motivated to make sure they don't have an adversarial divorce. They realize divorce doesn't have to be an out-and-out bloodbath."
1. You Go At Your Own Pace
The divorce process is a difficult and emotionally overwhelming separation from someone you've devoted so much of your life to, and with collaborative divorce, you can work through the process at your own pace.
If you want a speedy divorce, you can simply meet four or five times to reach a mutual agreement. If you want to assess every aspect of your marriage to make sure you are satisfied with the terms, you can take as much time as you need.
There are no court deadlines to meet, or attorneys pushing you to settle as quickly as possible or dragging out the process to make money off of your heartache. This is a divorce on your own terms.
2. You Can Keep Your Kids In Mind
Fostering a collaborative, empathetic and constructive decision can prevent the difficult impact of the divorce on your kids and easily consider their needs.
Collaborative divorce also eliminates the need to separate the kids from one parent, prevents unfair limits to time spent with the kids and establishes a fair decision on childcare amounts. There's less pressure and stress on the kids.
3. You Save Money
Many families — strapped for cash or even doing relatively well — have the opportunity to save TONS of money by steering clear of the court room.
As Michelle Crosby, co-founder of divorce mediation company Wevorce, explains to Geoff Williams of U.S. News & World Report: Money, "Reliable statistics on the cost of an average divorce are hard to come by, but the general consensus is that an average divorce costs between $15,000 and $30,000. But if you opt for the mediation route — at least at Wevorce — the average price point is about $7,500."
In Manhattan, for example, the fee to file for divorce — not including a lawyer, photocopies, notary fees, transportation, mailing, processes server fees, etc. — is at least $335. On top of that, you must purchase an index (case) number for $210. According to Mandi Woodruff of Business Insider, you better save up to afford those New York City attorney fees. (They can cost on average around $342 per hour, making NYC have the third highest divorce attorney rates in the U.S.!)
This lower cost for such a difficult and heartbreaking situation is well worth the time spent working out a quick and fair deal with your soon-to-be ex. Not to mention, with a lower financial incentive, you can be sure that your lawyers are solely working in your best interests and genuinely want you to have all the help you need to achieve a fair settlement.
Do you think you and your family will benefit from a collaborative divorce? Scroll up to hear YourTango Expert Katherine Miller explain more of the beneficial opportunities this personalized divorce process has to offer.