The American Bar Association (ABA) endorsed collaborative divorce in an article entitled Kinder, Gentler Collaborative Divorce Also Costs Less. Collaborative divorce continues to gain support from attorneys and clients as a practical and beneficial approach to divorce issues.
Collaborative law was the brainchild of a Minnesota attorney, Stuart Web. He expanded on the idea of negotiating settlements by having parties and their counsels cooperate and as needed bring in neutral professionals to advise and suggest innovative solutions. The collaborative process replaced adversarial legal battles with a broad problem-solving approach through negotiation.
MSNBC reported interesting statistics about collaborative divorce. A Boston collaborative law firm analyzed 199 of its recent divorce cases and found that the median costs were—
- Mediation: $6,000
- Collaborative divorce: $19,723
- Settlement negotiations by rival lawyers: $26,830
- Full-scale litigation: $77,746
Other ways in which collaborative law benefits divorcing couples is that they can maintain privacy. Sessions are not part of court records and parties keep their matters confidential. Couples can seek realistic settlements and voluntarily disclose information. After the divorce is final, couples can continue to cooperate with each other to resolve issues that arise regarding their children. Compared to litigation, collaborative divorce resolves matters quickly with minimal time lost from work. It is also less expensive than litigation, which involves court costs and legal fees for discovery, motions, and appearances in court.