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Collaborative Divorce: A Peaceful Alternative for Orange County Couples

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Cooperating for a More Positive Divorce Experience

Divorce is a difficult process. It’s the final legal recognition that your plans and dreams for the future aren’t going to come to fruition. It can be challenging to untangle your life from your spouse’s and start moving down a new path. However, the divorce process doesn’t have to be adversarial or negative. There’s always emotion involved in ending a relationship. However, if both people are willing, it can be a cooperative effort to ensure that everyone has what they need to go on with their lives while holding on to the positive memories and experiences. Collaborative divorce keeps the focus on working together for a positive outcome instead of trying to “win” the divorce.

What Is Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative divorce is a divorce strategy that involves cooperating with your soon-to-be ex and working as a team with a common goal in mind: a peaceful end to the relationship that keeps the focus on the needs of each person in the family. In a traditional divorce, both parties are often trying to “win” or punish the other person because they are angry and upset that the relationship is ending. While these are valid emotions to have when going through a divorce, using them as fuel for the legal process usually causes more harm than good.

Collaborative divorce seeks to ensure the well-being of each and every member of the family. This can look slightly different for each situation, but in general, it involves keeping emotion out of the asset division and custody determination, remembering that the other party is still a human being worthy of respect, and focusing on the aspects that matter the most to you.

Benefits of Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative divorce may seem like a pipe dream if you’re still in the early stages after deciding to end your marriage, but statistics show that it can have a substantial positive effect on your life during and after the divorce. Around 85 percent of couples who choose collaborative divorce were able to come to a full agreement on every term of the divorce. Those who go through a collaborative divorce process may also be more likely to adjust to their new lives more quickly and be able to move forward with their individual goals and plans. Below are just some of the main benefits collaborative divorce has to offer.

Less Emotional Trauma for the Family

There’s no way to completely neutralize the negative effects of divorce on your family, but using a collaborative process can help — especially if there are children involved. Children who see their parents working together during the divorce and refusing to tear each other down may suffer fewer negative side effects. Keeping the focus on cooperation and working to be positive coparents can also show children that just because their parents aren’t married anymore doesn’t mean that they don’t still have a family. This mindset can also be helpful for the adults because it keeps you from adding on more negativity and trauma than already exists through the divorce process.

Reduced Cost

Because collaborative divorces are focused on working together to figure out the terms and coming to mutually satisfying agreements, they are far less costly as a whole than the traditional divorce trial process. The average cost of a divorce in California is around $17,500 for spouses without children, and this jumps to around $26,000 if the couple does have children due to the extra expense often involved in custody disputes. However, it’s very possible for a high-conflict divorce to cost upward of $100,000 by the time everything is settled. Using the collaborative divorce process can save you significant amounts of money if you don’t have to pay your legal team to go through potentially years of divorce litigation.

Faster Timeline

Divorce trials are notorious for being long, drawn-out battles that can take several years to finalize. If the parties can’t agree on any terms, every single aspect of the divorce must be decided in court through the trial process. This means that property division, spousal maintenance, child custody, parenting time schedules, and child support all have to be addressed individually, with both parties presenting evidence, witnesses and testimony for their side. If there are discrepancies over whether assets qualify as community property, it can require forensic accountants and other professionals to even audit and inventory the assets before decisions can be made about who gets what. Collaborative divorce drastically simplifies this process, saving you time and money.

Who Are the Best Candidates for a Collaborative Divorce?

The best candidates for collaborative divorce are couples who are in agreement that it’s time to end the marriage and who are willing to put in the work to make it a better experience. Those who are emotionally mature and able to keep conflict at a minimum are the most likely to see success with this process.

Is a Collaborative Divorce Right for Our Situation?

While collaborative divorce clearly has several benefits of the traditional adversarial model, the truth is that it isn’t appropriate for all situations. Collaborative divorce only works if both people are willing to put in the time and effort to work toward a fair and equitable settlement while keeping the end goal in mind. It’s best to talk to a divorce attorney early on in the process to find out whether this is an option for you and what you can do to start everything off on a positive note.

If you’re interested in learning more about collaborative divorce and what it entails, contact The Bledsoe Firm at 949-363-5551. Our team can talk with you about your goals and circumstances to determine if your situation is a good match for collaborative divorce and work with you to get the process started.

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