Achieving the Best Possible Outcomes in Legal Cases

Collaborative Divorce: How And Why?

by Maurice Carroll

A collaborative divorce is one that embraces alternative dispute resolution strategies such as mediation and negotiation as opposed to litigation. This concept is increasingly becoming a popular option with Australian couples looking to get divorced.

The increasing popularity can somewhat be attributed to various negative aspects associated with the traditional court-based divorce, for which collaborative divorce provides a remedy. This article explains how and why.

Open Communication

The collaborative process allows for open communication between you and your spouse under the guidance of appointed family law practitioners. This gives you and your spouse greater control over the final decisions reached at the end of the collaborative process.

Open communication is often discouraged by the nature of court-based divorce proceedings where potential divorcees primarily engage/communicate through their legal representatives.

Co-operation And Competition

You should ask yourself whether you want to "compete" with your spouse for a divorce or whether you want to co-operate into it.

By limiting open communication between spouses, the court process often adds a competitive angle to a divorce case. Spouses often feel like they're in a competition of sorts and legal practitioners involved in the case are both under pressure to win the legal battle. The "win" and "lose" kind-of mentality often prompts potential divorcees to withhold important facts about the case for their strategic advantage.

"Competition" during court proceedings often cultivates feelings of animosity between spouses, thereby making it difficult for them to end their relationship on an amicable note as may be necessary (e.g. if there are children involved).

Collaborative divorce allows for greater co-operation and less competition between you and your spouse. Through co-operation, a "win-win" kind of scenario is created during the divorce proceedings.

Rights And Interests

These are two fundamental issues that form the basis of all divorce proceedings. Litigation and collaborative divorce are different in the sense that the former is a rights-based approach to divorce, while the latter is an interest-based approach.

By agreeing to "collaborate", you and your spouse will have chosen to focus your energy on reaching an agreement that serves both of your interests as opposed to "prosecuting" the other person for their misdeed(s), which may have contributed to the divorce.

A family lawyer will defend your rights in court-based divorce proceedings. The same lawyer will safeguard your interests in the case of collaborative divorce.

Divorce is often a painful experience and the sooner you get it over with, the faster you can start to heal the emotional wounds that you may be left with.