Separating from your spouse is never painless, and a contentious courtroom divorce can make the process even more grueling. In recent years, many divorcing spouses have opted for alternatives to courtroom divorce, such as collaborative divorce. While this alternative is a great choice for some couples, there are downsides to collaborative divorce that spouses should understand before choosing this option. Read on to learn about the disadvantages of a collaborative divorce, and contact a New Jersey divorce attorney with any questions you may have.
Spouses must be on good terms to make a collaborative divorce work As implied by the name, collaborative divorce is premised on the idea that the spouses are able to collaborate on reaching a settlement agreement. Both spouses must agree to the collaborative divorce process, and if one refuses, then collaborative divorce is no longer an option. Couples who remain very angry, resentful, or distrusting of one another, even if they agree to a collaborative divorce, are unlikely to achieve a successful outcome. Couples are expected to work together to find a fair division of assets and custody-sharing agreement, and they must trust that their spouse makes a complete and honest disclosure of their assets and liabilities. Without this trust and goodwill towards one another, they may not be capable of working closely to reach a settlement.
The process can be costly Collaborative divorce often involves input from experts, such as financial experts, real estate appraisers, and child psychologists, all of whom the couple will need to pay for their time. Keep in mind that, should a couple go to trial, they might rely on experts in support of their arguments, as well, and the costs of a highly-contested divorce would far exceed the costs of a collaborative divorce.
You might receive more from a traditional divorce In a collaborative divorce, parties must work together to reach a fair outcome for both spouses. This could mean that one spouse might end up with a smaller share of the couple’s assets than they would have a legal right to receive if the divorce were decided by a court.
If the process doesn’t work, you may need to start over In some cases, even motivated and well-intentioned couples can’t reach a settlement that both parties can agree to, and they’re forced to walk away. This can mean that many hours of hard work, as well as fees paid to the professionals involved, are lost entirely, and parties have to hire new attorneys if they choose to move forward with a courtroom divorce. In other forms of divorce mediation, the parties can move forward with their attorneys in litigation if the mediation fails to produce an agreement. But collaborative divorce requires a commitment at the outset that the parties will either succeed in the collaborative process, or the attorneys will withdraw from the representation. Having to start the divorce over with new attorneys is an additional expense not present with traditional divorce mediation.