What are some benefits to a collaborative divorce?

A collaborative divorce has advantages such as predictability and fairness. When children are in the picture, parents can also begin co-parenting early on.

In Massachusetts, there are many ways to get divorced. For example, the parties may be unable to agree on anything, and the result is a highly contested divorce that ends up in court. Then there are options such as meditation and collaborative divorces.

The parties retain more control over their lives

In a divorce that ends up in court, the judge may be the one making decisions about some of the most important issues in your life. Unless they can reach an agreement, parents litigating their divorce give up a lot of control over the final outcomes of child custody, property division and spousal support.

With a collaborative divorce, there should be no surprises. Both parties remain firmly in control of their fates instead of leaving them up to a judge. Moreover, those couples who have children can start the habit early on of learning how to co-parent and collaborate.

It avoids the blame game

Divorce can be a complex and nuanced process. Even if there is an "official" reason for the divorce, there are often many, many factors that went into it. Pointing fingers is often not productive, and collaborative divorce focuses on solutions rather than on causes.

Both parties can be heard

Having attorneys and a neutral coach in the picture with a collaborative divorce means that there are third parties present who have even more capability of maintaining perspective. Divorce can be emotional, and one spouse may feel guilty for doing something and be more likely to give up child custody or assets, like the marital home, to make the other spouse happy. An attorney can help minimize the impact of emotional decisions and ensure that the most equitable result is reached.

It helps the court system and the parties' financial bottom line

When the parties in a case try to solve issues for themselves, the court system also benefits. Judges can focus better on the cases that require their attention, and the system functions more efficiently if most parties need only make one brief appearance. There will not be multiple hearings or a lengthy trial; the parties will likely save money on their divorce, and the details of their lives will remain private.

Of course, there may be some disadvantages to collaborative divorce in Massachusetts. For example, a spouse who is a victim of domestic abuse may be too afraid of speaking up or advocating for his or her rights. A collaborative effort can also fail when the parties do not communicate well with each other. It is important that clients and their attorneys have clear and open communication channels so they can determine if collaborative divorce is, in fact, appropriate.