Entries Tagged as 'collaborative divorce'

Wall Street Journal Article on Divorce

The Wall Street Journal recently had an article discussing divorce.  While most of the focus of the article is on collaborative divorce and the impact of divorce on children, mediation does get a couple of positive mentions.

On children:

Constance Ahrons’s 20-year look at 173 children from 98 divorced families showed that when divorced parents were able to maintain a civil and at least minimally cooperative relationship with each other, the children experienced no long-term problems associated with the divorce. But when parents remained in conflict or totally disengaged from each other, their children continued to be distressed even 20 years later.

The article also mentions that there is ample evidence that we can increase the incidence of “good” divorces. In a 12-year follow-up of couples randomly assigned to either mediation or litigated divorce, Robert Emery and his colleagues found that as little as five to six hours of mediation had powerful long-term effects. Parents who took part in mediation settled their disputes in half the time of parents who used litigation, and they were much more likely, even 12 years later, to jointly discuss children’s discipline, moral training, school performance and vacation plans. Nonresidential parents with mediated divorces maintained much more contact with their children than those who had litigated.

The average cost of a mediated divorce is less than $7,000 and of a collaborative divorce less than $20,000. This compares with nearly $27,000 for a divorce negotiated by rival lawyers and about $78,000 for a fully litigated divorce.

And it’s not just the financial toll. When a parent maximizes his or her emotional position by undermining a child’s respect for the other parent, this “victory” carries long-term costs. Researcher Paul Amato notes that children who report being put in the middle of their parents’ problems are less likely to be close to either parent as they age.

Costs of Divorce

As I mentioned in my previous post about collaborative divorce, the Boston Law Collaborative performed a study of 199 of their recent divorce cases. Mediation was by far the least expensive option, with a median cost of $6,600, compared to $19,723 for a collaborative divorce, $26,830 for settlements negotiated by rival lawyers, and $77,746 for full-scale litigation. Obviously, the cost of any single divorce is dependent on the specific circumstances and complexity of that divorce. But this gives a good approximation of the relative costs between the various divorce processes.

If you should have any questions about divorce or mediation, please feel free to contact me at 732-963-2299 or through the contact page at my website.

What is Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative Divorce is a newer process for obtaining a divorce, which is a middle ground between mediation and litigation.  In collaborative divorce, the parties and the attorneys agree to make the outcome fair to all.  The collaborative attorneys perform most if not all of the negotiations.

The one main twist that seperates this from a litigated divorce is that the lawyers agree in advance that if the parties want to litigate the divorce (in the case they cannot come to an agreement), these attorneys will step aside and the process must start over again with new attorneys — with all the costs inherent in that.  That’s the “incentive” to reach an agreement.

What are the benefits and disadvantages of this divorce process?  It is less costly than a litigated divorce, but more expensive than a mediated divorce.  It should have less emotional strains than a litigated divorce since it is supposed to be a non-adversarial process.  It may not provide for the catharsis that a mediated divorce can provide.  The end divorce is the same as one would get in any of the processes.

Why would someone want to use collaborative divorce over a mediated one? There are two primary reasons. First, if a spouse is uncomfortable sitting in the same room as their soon to be ex. Second, there are many people who do not like to negotiate. These people would benefit from collaborative divorce since the attorneys are doing the direct negotiations (at a higher expense, though).

The AP published a nice article about divorce last month, which you can read in depth here. I will be focusing on the costs study referenced in the article in my next posting.