One of the mainstays of the Collaborative Process is that every aspect is transparent – information is shared with everyone and all interests are considered. It is also important to have some common knowledge and understanding about divorce. The FAQ page provides some valuable information, and the Tour will address the process and participants. But here are some very important Myths & Realities about divorce and Collaborative.
Myth: No divorce is easy. Even if your situation only involves 2 people with no belongings, no interests, no children, no financial assets, no debts and no needs for the future. However, you can “do it yourself” in that type of situation. Collaborative is designed to minimize the emotional and financial drain of divorce, and allow couples to focus on everyone’s best interests. The process is not necessarily easier, but the outcome is almost always better for everyone. In Wisconsin no divorce can be accomplished in less than 120 days – the minimum waiting period set by state statute. In Collaborative, you set the pace, not the Court.
Reality: It CAN be but most importantly, the process is more efficient from a financial perspective. Collaborative uses the best professionals for the issue at hand and while the total cost may be similar to other forms of divorce, the outcome is more customized to your situation. In litigation, all the fees typically are paid to the attorney, even if they lack the expertise for the issue. For example, with Collaborative you develop a Parenting Plan with a Child Specialist trained and experienced in drafting plans that make sense for your situation. Moreover, the hourly fee of the expert is almost always less than an attorney. In litigation or traditional divorce, the attorney will draft the plan, and charge you for that even though they have no training with parenting plans. Collaborative is a better emotional, practical and economic decision.
Myth: Compared to the typical contested litigated divorce, there are actually LESS people involved in a Collaborative divorce. Collaborative involves a single neutral financial expert that helps you understand the financial aspects of your situation now and in the future and provides options for you to consider. In litigation, both sides hire “expert witnesses” to argue about each other’s numbers. In litigation, you and your partner will pay for time and materials spent in discovery and witnesses and depositions and filings and a host of other exercises devoted to conflict.
Myth: the professionals that serve as Divorce Coaches and Child Specialists are not engaged to provide therapy. Child Specialists provide input and insight into your children’s interests and attitudes, regardless of age. Even adult children can participate in this manner. The Coach is there to help you deal with the emotional aspects and help with educating the Collaborative team about your interests and needs without diagnosing or therapeutic intervention.
Myth: That statement reveals a lack of understanding about the Collaborative process. Your Collaborative attorney represents you in the process and both you and your partner have your own lawyers. Your lawyer does advocate for you. What Collaborative attorneys also strive to do is look at the interests of everyone else in or impacted by the process – your partner, your children, even adult children and grandparents – to help craft a settlement that you support because it makes sense for everyone. If your goal is to hurt your spouse or children, to make them pay, or get as much as you can regardless of what does to everyone, then Collaborative is not a process for you. Litigation, which is very expensive and confrontational, can provide that outcome at what we believe to be a tremendous cost to you and your family.