The collaborative divorce can take as long as you want it to take essentially. At the very first meeting in collaborative divorce the team, the collaborative team will ask the parties what their interests are in terms of the duration of the process and how long they would like the process to take. And then the collaborative meetings can be scheduled accordingly Now it’s conceivable that the clients might have expectations of the process that aren’t possible to achieve because of the complexity of the information that needs to be gathered or the research that is necessary to get through the process. But in that event the team will inform the parties of what’s involved and what’s going to be involved in this particular process and what steps have to be taken in order to get through the process.
I guess the take away is that when a divorce is filed it’s the court that sets the hearings It is the court that establishes how long it takes for the parties to get through the litigation process, and often there are considerations that influence the docket that are beyond the control of the parties, such as other cases that are scheduled before the judge. In the collaborative process the parties are going to really control how long the process will take, within reason.
Is the collaborative divorce less expensive than court litigation? Yes in most cases, the collaborative process will involve some cost. However what the collaborative divorce process offers is efficiency and a focus on resolution. In contrast if you go through the divorce process, the process is set up in an adversarial manner, it’s litigation. The parties are client and defendant. They are going to be paying their counsel to prepare for hearings at court where the parties will each be presenting their arguments and the court will be effectively making decisions for the parties via hearings and a final trial unless there is resolution settlement along the way. You’re basically paying your attorneys to go into court and present your most extreme positions, knowing that the court will be probably making orders that neither party will be 100% happy with.
In the collaborative process the focus is completely different. The process is designed to educate the parties, to give them the facts that they need. It is a front loaded process. It’s a process that provides education and information to the parties including financial information via the financial neutral, legal information through both parties’ attorneys and parenting information from the coach. The goal is resolution. It’s a highly structured and highly private process. It calls for full, candid and voluntary disclosure of all relevant information and it is focused on resolution outside of court. So it’s not necessarily cheap. You’re paying fees and divorce professionals to assist you in providing the support for you, necessary to help you efficiently and effectively come to resolution and that does cost money. But is a problem solving process as opposed to a battle-it-out process. So from that perspective it is a more economically efficient process.
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