The Modern Divorce, a blog series, looks at all aspects and considerations of the Collaborative Divorce Process. This is the second post of a multi-part series.
There’s an old saying that goes: “Why are divorces so expensive? Because they’re worth it”.
While some old sayings still ring true today, many represent an antiquated way of thinking.
As a family law attorney, I am often frustrated for my clients about how expensive the divorce process can be, especially since it is one that will be utilized by more than fifty percent of married Virginians during their lifetimes. The cost for a divorce varies widely depending on where you live and how you choose to resolve your marital difficulties. However, once a complicated and contentious case moves to litigation, the cost can often reach six figures, regardless of whether it resolves in or out of court.
Collaborative Divorce, however, can help streamline costs. Yes, you read that correctly – even with hiring additional professionals to assist during the process, you can save money.
In Collaborative Divorce, the parties and their attorneys work with one financial professional, called a financial neutral, who gathers information from each spouse. The financial neutral works on family and individual budgets as well as cash-flow and asset division options with the collaborative team. This financial neutral can help guide both parties to financial security, an often-stated shared goal in a Collaborative Divorce. The neutral can also help the parties figure out how the same income that once supported one household will now support two households.
A Collaborative Divorce is a way to discuss the financial realities of a divorce without the winning/losing dynamic of traditional process. Part of the collaborative process is a contractual agreement between the parties to keep the financial status-quo during negotiations, allowing both parties to negotiate on an even playing field and often allowing the less financially-sophisticated spouse time to learn about the family’s income and asset portfolio.
The collaborative process is intended to help divorcing spouses see where their interests align rather than exacerbating the underlying divisions. When the goal is to work together to identify solutions and solve problems, both financial and custodial, the discussions are more fruitful and end in fewer stalemates or nasty fights then the traditional process of attorneys sending letters identifying positions back and forth and accepting or rejecting proposals.
Working together is always less expensive than working against one another.
For more information on the Collaborative Divorce Process, contact Alice Ahearn.
The Modern Divorce Series Preview: The third post in the series, Emily Baker looks at how the Collaborative Law Process can make sense for individuals reaching retirement.
Blog Series: The Modern Divorce