When is Collaborative Law the Best Option for my Arizona Divorce?

A. What is Collaborative Divorce Law?

Collaborative law is a method of resolving disputes without litigation. The parties agree to stop, delay or avoid litigation and hire professionals trained in collaborative law to negotiate settlement. The parties may just hire their own collaboratively trained divorce attorneys or other professionals as well. Financial experts and child specialists (where children are at issue) are jointly retained. The parties agree not to go to Court, agree to voluntarily disclosure of relevant information. The parties agree not to use any of the experts if they decide to proceed to litigation.

B. Who Should Use Collaborative?

People should consider collaborative when the following are true:

• When they want control over the outcome of their case.

• When both parties are willing to participate.

• When they want or need a continuing relationship with the other party.

• When they want to save money.

• When they want to resolve the matter quicker.

• When they are trying to avoid the stress of litigation.

• When they want privacy.

• When litigation will not provide them with what they need.

C. When Should Collaborative Not Be Used Or Be Stopped?

While the process is equipped to deal with some tough issues like mental health issues and domestic violence, extreme personality disorders will not lend themselves to the process.

Some people choose collaborative because they believe they will be able to better control the other party or the flow of information. If the professionals notice an abuse of process, that is reason to stop the collaboration.

If the process breaks down, it is incumbent on the professionals to ensure a smooth transition.

D. Collaborative Versus Other Methods.

Litigation – Litigation is the use of the Court system to resolve disputes. The parties engage in an adversarial process, usually involving the retention of litigation of separate experts. At the end, a judge (or jury in some civil matters) makes the decision. Litigation is risky, expensive, stressful and time consuming.

Arbitration – Arbitration is also often quicker and less expensive than litigation. However, it does not tend to save relationships, offer creative solutions, allow the parties to control the outcome or offer the support of the collaborative process.

Mediation – Mediation offers many of the same benefits of collaborative law. Mediation tends to be less expensive. Collaborative tends to offer more support through the use of multiple professionals. Parties can use professionals in mediation.

Alona M. Gottfried is a family law mediator,  AZ collaborative divorce attorney and litigation attorney in Arizona. If you have questions about mediation, she can be reached at: 480-998-1500 or alona@sglawaz.com. This is a general interest article only and is not intended to be legal advice. See a legal professional before making legal decisions.

Simmons & Gottfried, PLLC
8160 E. Butherus Dr., Suite #7
Scottsdale, AZ 85260


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