I recently heard this as a reason an attorney gave for not using Collaborative Law for a divorce. Obviously the attorney was not really committed to using the Collaborative process to resolve disputes in divorces and other cases and I have to respectfully disagree.
1. Litigation won’t make the disagreements go away. They just won’t be resolved as well as they could have been in Collaborative. There will likely be more conflict.
- Without lawyers trained in problem-solving through Collaboration, the parties will probably have attorneys who go into the traditional steps of conflict-enhancing litigation. There will probably be much less cooperation between the attorneys as compared to Collaborative attorneys.
- In addition, litigation doesn’t provide for a therapist or a neutral financial advisor to help the parties create solutions and minimize conflict.
- When the parties can’t reach agreements, the issues will probably ultimately be decided, at least in part, by standard guidelines and the judge’s own biases.
2. There’s really not “too many disagreements” to use Collaborative. There are simply better tools to use than litigation provides to handle all the problems. As long as the parties are open, honest and committed to reaching an agreement, Collaborative can be effective.
3. Every family law case has a lot of disagreements. We are talking about dispute resolution processes. There’s no reason to limit it to the easiest cases. The process is not easy. It requires patience and dedication, but it is a flexible framework that can handle very difficult and unusual cases. I have seen the Collaborative Law process successfully resolve the following difficult issues:
- Job loss
- Alcohol abuse
- Mental disorders
- Conflicts over parenting styles
- Alienation allegations
- Custody fights
- Long-term illnesses
If an attorney or anyone else ever tells you that there are “too many disagreements” to use Collaborative Law, you need to get a second opinion from an experienced Collaborative lawyer. Undoubtedly, the Collaborative lawyer will disagree with that assessment!