Collaborative Divorce: Seeing the forest through the trees (Part 2)

In last weeks blog, we briefly described the processes of mediation and collaborative divorce. This week, we’ll wrap up a traditional divorce and give you some quick bullet points to help you come closer to a decision on which type of divorce and which type of Tampa family lawyer may be right for you.

With conventional representation, each party hires top divorce attorneys. If the lawyers are good at settling cases, they work towards that goal while they prepare the case for the possibility of trial. If the lawyers are not interested in a settlement, all of their time goes directly into preparing for trial, although a settlement may still be reached at or near the time of trial. Either way, the pace and the objectives Tampa divorce attorneys tend to be dictated by what happens in court. This generally results in higher legal fees and a longer time to completion than collaborative law cases or mediated cases. The risk of a high conflict divorce is much higher than with mediation or collaborative law. [1]

And then, there is always all out war. In a war, one or both parties are motivated by emotions and take extreme black and white positions, looking to the courts for revenge or validation. Reason and reasonable accommodations are thrown out the window. The Tampa divorce attorneys often act as an “alter ego” for their clients, instead of counseling them to make reasonable decisions leading to a sensible solution. This form of dispute resolution is the most costly both emotionally and economically. It is always destructive for any children involved and can stretch out for many years. Regardless of who wins, few clients are satisfied with the outcome.

Here are some quick bullet points from the ABA (American Bar Association) on the differences between collaborative law and the traditional adversarial divorce process.

  1. In collaborative law, neither party takes advantage of the miscalculations or mistakes of the others, but instead identifies and corrects them.
  2. In Collaborative law, both parties insulate their children from their disputes and, should custody be an issue, they avoid the professional custody evaluation process.
  3. Both parties in collaborative law use joint accountants, mental health consultants, appraisers, and other consultants, instead of adversarial experts.
  4. In collaborative law, a respectful, creative effort to meet the legitimate needs of both spouses replaces tactical bargaining backed by threats of litigation.
  5. In collaborative law, the lawyers must guide the process to settlement or withdraw from further participation, unlike adversarial lawyers, who remain involved whether the case settles or is tried.
  6. In collaborative law, there is parity of payment to each lawyers so that neither party’s representation is disadvantaged vis-a-vis the other by lack of funds, a frequent problem in adversarial litigation. [1]

If you are considering a divorce, consult with a lawyer who has experience in collaborative divorce, mediation, and traditional adversarial divorce so you can receive insight on which type of divorce may be right for you. Seek out Tampa divorce attorneys with the knowledge you need. Seek out S. David Anton of Anton Legal Group!

David Anton is a third generation Tampa Bay attorney who has handled all aspects of dissolution actions since 1985.