Friday, November 1, 2013

Why Do a Collaborative Divorce? Types of Cases

There are many different reasons why people may choose to use the Collaborative process for their divorce.  Aside from the advantages of the process, there are certain types of issues that could really benefit from the flexibility and privacy afforded by Collaborative law.  Here are some examples.

  • A child with special needs.  Courts usually try to do a little extra, but you are still generally turning over the decision-making to a judge who will try to make an order that is a slight variation from the normal, standard provisions.  In Collaborative, we can bring in a neutral expert to the process.  We would also have the mental health professional who can work with the neutral expert to help the parties come up with an appropriate order.
  • Parents with issues.  Unfortunately, the adults sometimes have problems with alcohol, drugs or anger, among other things.  Various addictions may require special help that might not be well dealt with in the court system, and in Collaborative cases, we can work at our own pace, in privacy, until the issues are under control. Again, we can bring in extra help, if needed.
  • Stay-at-home parents.  If one parent has been off the career track for a number of years, it may be very difficult and time consuming to find a new career and job. There needs to be some way to provide extra help for that transition.
  • Professionals.  Many doctors, lawyers, engineers, CPAs and others don't want their personal issues laid out in public documents.  Public figures, including politicians, are in the same situation. Collaborative divorce gives them the protection of a private process that works outside the court system until the divorce is final.
  • Too busy for court?  Some people have really busy or inconvenient schedules.  While all of us would like to think we are indispensable, there are some people whose absence at work really creates problems.  They need the ability to meet at non-traditional times (not at court at 9 a.m. or 1:30 p.m., for example).  Collaborative meetings can be convened at any time on any day when all the parties can get there.
  • Convenient meeting place.  The courthouse may not be the most convenient place to meet.  In Collaborative cases, we usually meet at the attorneys' offices, but I have had several cases where we met at the mental health professional's or the financial professional's office.
  • Need non-standard visitation or child support.  It is much easier to get creative with visitation or child support in Collaborative cases.  In litigation, the guidelines are almost always used.  In Collaboration, the guidelines are just an option and we usually consider several options.
If you are facing a divorce and any of the above situations apply to you, please look further into using Collaborative Law.  It will probably be your best avenue for meeting your needs.

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