In addition to being stressful, filing for divorce can also be expensive. Traditional divorce proceedings involve each party hiring their own attorney and relying on litigation to settle disputes. The costs associated with this type of divorce can be overwhelming and there is no guarantee that parties will be happy with the results. Some believe that getting a divorce should not mean spending thousands of dollars and risking bankruptcy. One alternative option that has been proven to save time and money is collaborative divorce. An article that appeared in the Huffington Post talks about some of the reasons why choosing collaborative divorce is beneficial over traditional litigation for those that seek to save money. The author discusses 4 reasons why collaborative divorce may be a good financial decision, especially in times of an uncertain economy:
1. In divorce litigation, both parties spend their money on attorneys who prepare for trial. It has been shown that the vast majority of litigated divorces do not end up going to trial and instead settle out of court. This means that parties are wasting money on attorney's fees for something that they will likely never even need. Couples who choose a collaborative divorce, however, can be certain that 100% of the money they spend is going towards helping them settle their divorce. During the collaborative process both parties hire their own independent attorneys. But instead of working against each other, the attorneys strive to help both parties collaborate in order to settle their disputes amicably.
2. In a litigated divorce, both parties work against each other. This means that each party will essentially be looking to "win" the divorce. When individuals feel combative, they are not likely to cooperate with one another which means divorcing parties cannot be trusted to be honest about their individual assets in this situation. In litigation, each party must pay attorneys to make sure the other party is disclosing the correct information. This leads to additional attorney's fees and more delays. In a collaborative divorce, parties are working together so there is no need to be dishonest about their assets.
3. Litigated divorces can also be very expensive when each party hires their own professionals to serve as expert witnesses or assist in some part of their case. Litigated divorces pit parties against each other forcing each to build as strong a case as possible. Often, this requires expert testimony. The article states:
Both the husband and wife can waste thousands of dollars by hiring competing expert witnesses to value businesses, trace assets, or make recommendations regarding custody of the children or possession of the children.
In a collaborative divorce, professionals are also utilized. However, they are used for the benefit of both parties. During the collaborative process a mental health professional will attend the proceedings as well as other experts such as a financial planner, if necessary. The purpose is not for them to take sides but to help both parties make informed decisions. This is beneficial because it not only allows for the best possible compromises, but parties can divide the cost rather than each hiring their own individual council.
4. Finally, litigated divorces can lead to further expenses and headaches because neither party is often satisfied with the results. Parties may feel the need to settle simply to get the process over with. If they do not, a case can continue on and on, requiring more and more costs. If a case does go to court, the judge will decide the outcome which parties may not be satisfied with. As a result, couples may not have a good way to deal with conflicts in the future. For example, if the court settles a parenting time dispute between an ex-husband and wife that one party later wants to modify, they may be forced to return to court to once again reach a settlement. In the collaborative process, couples not only work together to decide divorce terms are best, they can foster a better relationship between the two of them that may come in handy in the future should any conflicts arise.
Though litigated divorces are still the most common type of divorce in the United States, they are also the most expensive. If you are contemplating divorce in New Hampshire, make sure you understand all of your options. For many people mediation or collaborative divorce are cheaper and generally faster processes that can actually yield better results. For more information about collaborative law or which divorce resolution strategy would be best for you, contact a New Hampshire divorce attorney right away.
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