What is Your Divorce Lawyer Not Telling You?

By: Carol Ann Mazza Date Posted: April 27, 201510:39 pm

If your divorce lawyer is directing you to a traditional, litigated divorce instead of a collaborative divorce, listen to what she is not telling you.  For example, she is not telling you that the court system is completely unequipped to deal with the underlying emotions inherent in every divorce and that left unattended and unacknowledged, those emotions fester and cause continued conflict post-judgment.  The Collaborative Divorce process is designed to address and acknowledge the emotions inherent in every divorce, allowing you to get past the emotions and move on with your life.

She is not telling you that traditional, litigated divorce takes all the control out of your hands and puts it into the hands of strangers:  judges, lawyers, guardians-ad litem, etc.  If you value self-determination and autonomy and want to decide what your post-divorce family will look like and how it will function, collaborative divorce puts those decisions in your hands.  With the assistance of your own collaboratively-trained divorce lawyers and other members of your team, you and your spouse make your own decisions and craft your own settlement agreement.

She is not telling you that the law is limited and uncertain.  Laws are written by people who don’t know you or your family, don’t care about your particular family’s needs and who have their own agenda.  Family law judges are limited by what the law allows or does not allow.  Each judge views families differently and has his or her own biases.  So, depending upon the judge who is assigned to your case, your litigated results will vary, with timesharing schedules, support decisions and equitable distribution results that do not fit your family’s unique needs.  Add to that the limitations imposed by the law and your family ends up fitting in someone else’s box.  In a collaborative divorce, the law is only one factor for you to consider in reaching agreement with your spouse.  The possibilities for settlement are many and are designed solely with your family in mind.

She is not telling you that traditional, litigated divorce is expensive and inefficient.  Many litigated divorces involve duplication of professionals such as financial experts and child specialists.  Additionally, divorce lawyers are handling areas outside of their expertise, usually at high hourly rates times two.  In collaborative divorce, while each partner has the benefit of their own attorney, neutral experts reduce duplication of efforts and fees; issues such as the financial matters and parenting are worked through with the help of neutral professionals whose skills are in that particular area, usually at much lower rates.

She is not telling you that traditional, litigated divorce further errodes communication.  The court system is an adversarial system.  Introducing the conflict that exists in most divorces, with the unsuccessful communication strategies that prevent couples from solving their own family problems, to the conflict inherent in the court system is like using oil to put out a grease fire.  When communication between two divorcing parents errodes, they are less able to effectively co-parent their children and their children suffer.  Collaborative divorce teaches valuable communication skills that can be used to further strengthen the post-divorce family structure.

She is not telling you that in traditional, litigated divorce, all documents filed with the court are public record, available for anyone to see, including your children.  The collaborative divorce process is much more private, limiting the amount of personal information about you and your family that is made public record.

So, listen to what your divorce lawyer is not telling you about your options for divorce and ask for information on collaborative divorce.