Denver Divorce Mediation - Ann L. Sussman, Attorney at Law
Collaborative Divorce has sometimes been described as divorce without war. The only goal in the collaborative divorce process is a settlement which works for both of the parties. In order to focus all efforts on achieving a settlement, all participants in the divorce, including the lawyers, agree not to litigate any issues in court.
Lawyers trained in the collaborative process frequently possess years of experience as litigators. Experienced litigators have learned that judges decisions can frequently be unpredictable. Judges may interpret law and/or facts differently than anticipated. Judges often are overwhelmed by staggering caseloads and may not have sufficient time to devote to each individual case. It is almost a certainty that judges will never know the parties as well as they know themselves.
The lawyers know that once a case proceeds to court, the parties become adversarial. The lawyers frequently become adversarial as well, by virtue of the fact that they are focused only on winning their side, which means trying to make the other side lose. This can unfortunately result in the lawyers themselves contributing to the escalation of conflict in the case. The lawyers know that if court cases resolve, the resolution is frequently reached at the very last minute, even on the very day of trial. The parties typically will have expended large amounts of money on attorney fees. After several months of fighting, the parties relationship may be irreparably damaged. Not surprisingly, the children of the parties often bear the brunt of the conflict between their parents, for years to come.
Collaborative divorce provides an alternative to the war. In a collaborative case, the lawyer is no longer a hired gun, retained by the client to win at any cost. The parties no longer face an unpredictable outcome as no decisions can be reached without the full participation of both parties.
While no longer acting as a hired gun, the collaborative lawyer zealously represents the client’s best interests. The client is fully advised by the collaborative lawyer as to relevant law, and is fully informed of the facts, which enables the client to make the best decisions possible.
At the same time, lawyers in a collaborative case are required to work with each other as a team. What this means is that collaborative lawyers must ensure that both parties have been advised as to the law and that everyone has all the facts they need to make the right decisions. If experts are needed, such as a financial planner, child specialist, or appraiser, the parties use one expert, instead of each retaining their own and incurring additional expense. Divorce coaches can be extraordinarily useful in the collaborative divorce process. A divorce can be one of the most stressful events in a person’s life. Coaches assist the spouses in communicating with each other so that they can say what they need to say to each other in a way that moves the process toward settlement. Coaches help the parties to cope with difficult emotions such as intense anger and sadness, which enables the parties to make decisions when they are at their best.
If you retain us as your attorney in a collaborative case, we will only work with opposing counsel who are trained in the collaborative process. There are many such attorneys and we will be happy to provide your spouse or partner with a list of names.
We can also provide you with more information about the collaborative process.