Is there any downside to a collaborative divorce?

From the outside, a divorce that can proceed with minimal fighting might save in legal fees and avoid additional heartache. However, as an attorney that focuses on family law and divorce, I would caution against accepting proposals without consulting with an attorney.

For example, there can be oversights in matters of property division. Even if unintentional, the failure to address property items like retirement accounts, securities and pensions might seriously disadvantage one party. For that reason, some states require spouses interested in a collaborative divorce to retain specially trained lawyers.

In Maryland, there are directories of attorneys who focus on collaborative divorce. One of the attorneys in our law firm served as a past president of a local county association of collaborative professionals. Consequently, our clients can be assured that their interests will be protected, while still saving on litigation costs.

However, a team of professionals may still be needed to properly advise a couple going through a collaborative divorce. Such experts may include financial advisors, mental health professionals, and child specialists. As part of the collaborative process for separation or divorce, the parties can meet with those team members to understand their options. We have the resources and networking experience to assemble a thorough team for our divorce clients.

After the parties have reached an agreement, the attorneys can reduce that arrangement to writing and submit it to the court. Generally, the court will schedule a hearing, which will be uncontested. If at any point in the process the spirit of cooperation breaks down, our attorneys are also experienced in litigation and can protect a client’s interest in that forum, as well.

Source: Philly.com, "'Collaborative divorce' can save time and money," Debra Denison Cantor and Ann V. Levin, July 3, 2015