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Why Collaborative Divorce is Not for Everyone



Collaborative divorce is an effective and often more amicable option for divorce that actively avoids a courtroom showdown and allows the control over decision-making to remain within the power of both parties rather than a third party. Although there are several benefits for choosing this path to divorce from cutting costs to minimizing confrontations, collaboration is not for everyone. Here are a few reasons collaborative divorce might not be the option for some couples.


Certain issues are irreconcilable

With traditional divorce and mediation, some items under contention can still be resolved through mediation instead of in the courtroom, creating a hybrid process that’s customized to fit the couple’s needs. With collaborative divorce, the outcome is all or nothing. If some decisions remain unresolved, the entire collaboration fails. When a couple stands so far apart on an issue that coming to an agreement on their own is not possible, litigation might be the best option.


Mistrust is the primary obstacle

There are plenty of reasons couples decide to get divorced. Because of the dynamic that exists as the foundation of collaborative divorce, the process is most likely to work if both parties are able to place an element of trust in one another as they make decisions together. Trust that both individuals want what is best for the children and that each person is being honest about finances and assets is essential to making collaboration successful. If that trust has been completely broken, collaboration might not be the most ideal setting for problem-solving.


The divorce is too high-conflict

At the beginning of the collaborative divorce process, both individuals in the divorcing couple sign an agreement pledging to avoid combative behavior and ensure respectful conversations. If this is impossible due to an incredibly high-conflict separation and lack of civility between both parties, a collaborative divorce might not be the right option. Effective communication is key to successful collaboration, and when those lines aren’t open, bridging the gap can become an insurmountable challenge.


The cost of a failed collaboration

All of those extra legal fees that come with a litigated divorce that ends up in the courtroom can potentially be avoided with a collaborative divorce. However, if collaboration fails, the divorcing couple is back to square one and must seek new lawyers. Hitting this reset button can make the divorce more costly, placing even more financial and emotional strain on the divorce itself.


Still unsure whether or not collaborative divorce is the best path to divorce for your unique situation? At Shafer Law Firm, we have several skilled attorneys happy to assist you and answer any questions about divorce that you may have. Contact us for more information.





About the Author: Kyle M. Janes

Kyle grew up in Meadville and attended Meadville Area Senior High. He attended college at Allegheny College. Upon graduating from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Kyle returned to Meadville to serve the community where he grew up.


Kyle has a diverse family law practice, including divorce, support, custody, juvenile dependency, adoption, pre-nuptial agreements, protection from abuse, and other domestic relations issues. His compassion for his clients and his knowledge of the law allow him to work on a full range of cases, from simple to complex.


This content is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this Post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.