Collaborative v. Litigation
When contemplating a divorce through the collaborative process, many people wonder if they might do better with traditional litigation. Such a question is ultimately difficult to answer because you can’t take the same case through both processes to have a direct comparison. However, this office was involved with one collaborative case that went all the way to settlement. However, before the final pleadings were signed one of the parties gave in to the impulse to seek a “second opinion” from a litigation attorney who promised great results…but ultimately failed to deliver. This case provides the best comparison available between the result from a collaborative process compared to going to court.
Collaborative: Through the collaborative process the parties reached a full resolution on troublesome issues involving property, spousal maintenance, child support with post-secondary support and a parenting plan. Through the collaborative process they actually discovered with the assistance of their financial neutral, an additional $50,000 in assets that they did not remember. If this had been traditional litigation, this asset would have been left out requiring the parties to come back for a second law suit after the divorce.
Litigation: In contrast, going through litigation the parties lost an additional $100,000 or more paying their litigation attorneys to take the matter through trial which took more than a year and involved a significant emotional cost in addition. The courts resolution was little different from that reached by the parties through the collaborative process, but was simply structured in a more traditional way. Ultimately, the parties themselves and their children lost significant financial and emotional gains by abandonment of the collaborative process.
Often attorneys who practice collaborative law believe and claim that divorces going through the collaborative process typically: 1) provide better results for the parties, 2) occur faster than litigation and 3) are significantly less costly than litigation.
This case confirms those claims.