Divorce Options II

My Collaborative divorce group is presenting Zoom classes about the various “Divorce Options” available in Colorado. Check out the schedule here.

You may not have heard of one or more of these divorce options. I’ll introduce the others. If you are considering divorce, you are probably feeling stressed and overwhelmed. I usually feel more in control in any situation if I understand my options.

The 4 Basic Divorce Options I told you about in my last blog are:

  • DIY – Do It Yourself
  • Mediation
  • Collaborative
  • Litigation

We talked about #1 and #2 in my previous blog. Here is a quick rundown of the 2 remaining options on the list.

COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE:

Collaborative divorce is a process in which a team of professionals, including attorneys, therapists, and consultants, work together to help a couple end their marriage as peacefully as possible. Sounds expensive you say. It may cost more than mediation, but it will likely cost much less than litigation. Attorneys usually have the highest hourly billing rate of anyone on the team. You can save a lot of money and get better results if you use the right professional for the right job.

Settlement focus

All professionals on the team agree not to go to court in future. If you cannot come to a settlement and end up in court, everyone involved has already agreed (& signed a contract) that all the professionals have to be replaced. That puts you back to square one.

The attorneys try to understand their own client’s view and  the other party’s view because the emphasis is on settlement. Often the team includes mental health and financial professionals who help with the emotional and financial aspects of the parties’ situation.  The whole team manages the process for the benefit of all.

The settlement focus of everyone involved changes the quality and content of the discussions. The parties feel freer to talk, leading to a more satisfying result for everyone. If you are not worried about something being used against you, you are more likely to have open and honest conversations.

Even the playing field

People who feel they need more support in the process often choose collaborative practice. If there is an imbalance of power or challenges in communication, a team approach can help. A difference in the level of understanding of financial concepts can be addressed with the help of financial professionals, putting everyone on an even playing field.  The collaborative team can help the parties determine which resources and professionals will be most useful for them.

Reduced post-decree conflict

There is less fighting after divorce because the parties have made an agreement that addresses their needs. People tend to abide better by agreements they fashioned than settlements imposed on them.

LITIGATION

Both you and your spouse hire attorneys and experts and prepare to go to trial to let a judge make decisions about your family.  I’ve heard 95% of cases settle before they go to court. If you do go to trial, the judge considers evidence and the law to come to a decision. The judge knows little about your particular situation and has very little time to spend on your case.

Costs vary depending upon the court and the jurisdiction, but mediated divorces may cost up to $6,000 or more per spouse, and Collaborative, up to $10,000 or more per spouse. This compares with up to $30,000 or more per spouse to wage war in court.

No one process is the right answer for everyone. The right process is the one that meets the needs of you and your family.

For more information about Divorce Options classes offered by Colorado Collaborative Divorce Professionals see the schedule here.

About the author:

Bev Banfield is a CPA, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst®, and founder of Banfield Divorce Financial Advisors. The Denver-based company was established to help divorcing couples more easily and equitably separate their finances. Banfield has more than 30 years of experience in financial analysis, budgeting, and auditing.  Contact us for more information at (303) 482-1726 or bev@bbdfa.com. Connect with me on LinkedIn  https://www.linkedin.com/in/bbanfield/