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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 divorce. 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 gets to decide a lot. It can be anyone's guess which way the judge will rule on issues such as child custody, property division and spousal support.

With a collaborative divorce, there should be no nasty 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.

The results can be fairer

Having attorneys in the picture with a collaborative divorce means that there are third parties present who have even more capability of retaining perspective. Make no mistake, divorce can be emotional, and one party may feel guilty for doing something and be more likely to give up child custody or assets such as, say the house, to make the other spouse happy. An attorney can help minimize the impact of emotional decisions and ensure that true compromises are reached instead of skewed results.

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 need not be many legal procedures and a lengthy trial, and a nice bonus is that the parties get to save money on their divorce. The lack of interrogatories also means that embarrassing information is less likely to get out.

Of course, there can 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.

Linda Sternberg, Esquire
10 Tremont Street, Suite 200
Boston, MA 02108

Phone: 617-454-4705
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