Traditional divorce is based on a premise of parties in conflict – plaintiff versus defendant, spouse against spouse, or mother against father. By pitting the parties against one another, the adversarial process at the heart of litigation can sometimes breed resentment, bitterness, and anger, pushing parties further apart and frustrating attempts at finding an amiable settlement.
While over 90% of domestic cases in Michigan settle, the oppositional posture of litigation can cause it to take longer and unnecessarily cost more, sometimes just to reach what could have been a mutually agreeable resolution from the beginning. It can also lead people to forget or misrepresent their own best interests – as well as those of their children – as they struggle to win “no matter the cost.” Another hidden “cost” of litigation can be the inadvertent loss of integrity of one or both parties, which could have lasting effects on the family for years to come.
Adversarial Proceedings Take the Focus Off Families’ Needs
Traditional divorce is based on a premise of parties in conflict – plaintiff versus defendant, husband against wife, mother against father. By pitting the parties against one another, the adversarial process at the heart of litigation can breed resentment, bitterness, and anger, pushing parties further apart and frustrating attempts at settlement. While over 90% of domestic cases in Michigan settle, the oppositional posture of litigation can cause it to take longer, and cost more, to reach a likely resolution. It can also lead people to forget or misrepresent their own best interests – as well as those of their children – as they struggle to win no matter the cost. A hidden cost of litigation is often the loss of integrity, which can have lasting effects on the family well after the divorce.
Conflict Causes Custody Problems Over Time
When child custody orders are born out of high-conflict litigation, the decisions can be inadvertently structured in ways that make it difficult to address future challenges, like remarriage and school issues, which sometimes require further litigation.
Traditional divorce can also deplete goodwill between parents, leading them to hope and seek for their ex-partner’s failure rather than encouraging their success. Perhaps worst of all, it can often reduce children to assets to be won. It’s far too easy to have an unnecessarily combative legal process hurt children, affect their emotional growth, and permanently damage their relationships with one or both parents.
Collaborative Divorce Offers a Cooperative Option
While our attorneys offer more traditional services like divorce litigation and mediation, we prefer the collaborative model of family law practice. Collaborative law recognizes that often divorcing couples want to cooperate with each other to resolve their issues. It focuses on the best interests of everyone involved – parents and children – and fosters a spirit of cooperation to develop a resolution that meets their respective needs. While much of litigation happens beyond the eyes and ears of the parties, collaborative divorce ensures full transparency in negotiations and full ownership of the resolution by the family.
Collaborative practice uses an interests-based approach to help the parties identify their needs and work through the emotional strain of divorce. Mental health and financial experts are involved from the start, so the parties can be informed of the practical effects and emotional implications of their decisions. The process is steered by specially trained mental health professionals who make sure negotiations stay on a rational, rather than emotional level. It also allows the parties to work through their concerns at their own pace, giving them time to gather and digest new information, instead of being driven by the court’s schedule.
Collaborative Divorce treats divorcing couples with dignity and respect, honoring the love they once shared and focusing on the desire to see each party succeed in whatever comes next. In custody cases, it recognizes the role each party will play as co-parents post-separation.
Also, this process encourages parties to recognize one another’s strengths and to craft a custody and parenting time arrangement that gives children the best both parents have to offer. It even teaches parents how to resolve future problems without the court, making their settlements more suitable and the need for post-judgment modification of court orders far less likely.
Contact us to schedule your free consultation with a Collaborative Divorce attorney to find out how a Collaborative Divorce can work for you. And since not every divorce is appropriate for collaborative law, we will help you identify the process that will work best for you and your family moving forward.
Schedule Your FREE Consultation