Tuesday, May 15, 2007

How to Save Money in a Collaborative Divorce

When people learn about Collaborative Law as they are about to begin the process of divorce, many become very interested in trying it because of the opportunities for creative solutions, privacy, control over the outcome, civility, etc. that are associated with Collaborative Law.

Some are a little skeptical about whether they and their spouse can get along well enough to work out an agreement. When a Collaborative attorney explains that the Texas model of Collaborative Law offers the assistance of a neutral mental health professional (MHP) to help both parties operate at their most effective and cooperative levels, they like the idea, but sometimes worry about the cost.

What we have learned is that the cost of the MHP is a great investment because the MHP helps both parties communicate appropriately and maintain a safe and relatively calm environment. The Collaborative process actually helps meetings be more productive and less argumentative than they could be otherwise. In addition to being more comfortable and satisfied with the process, the parties actually end up saving money.

In a Collaborative Divorce, the phrase, "more is less" really makes sense. By adding another participant to the process, the parties operate more efficiently and spend less time arguing. The time they spend in meetings is productive because they are assisted by the neutral MHP who helps the parties communicate in more helpful ways that advance their own interests. While it may seem personally satisfying to berate a spouse for various faults, those comments rarely contribute to an eagerness for that spouse to want to settle.

There are some potential difficulties in Collaborative cases even with parties who really want the process to work out. Inevitably, there are some tough, emotional meetings that challenge the abilities of the parties to maintain the civility that is a hallmark of Collaborative law. Hiring a neutral mental health professional may be the single best way to save money in a Collaborative Divorce.