There’s no candy-coating it, divorce hurts. When emotions are raw, a spouse may be inclined to wage a war in divorce court, to fight to the bitter end. But, is there really any benefit to that? In our opinion – divorce litigation should be avoided whenever and wherever possible.
If you’re in a high-net-worth marriage and your divorced friends warned you against Gladiator attorneys who pressure you to fight your divorce, they may have been on to something. Divorce litigation is a costly, protracted process. It’s stressful and drains the marital estate. Not only that, but it can take years to complete! Often to the tune of $30,000 or more than a collaborative divorce.
Suppose the battling couple does not have an extra $30,000 or $50,000 laying around to pay their attorney and court fees. In that case, they have to dip into their life savings, withdraw from their 401(k), borrow from family, put it on their credit cards, or run to Las Vegas in hopes of hitting the jackpot. These are less than ideal alternatives.
No Fighting Over the ‘Little Things’
We’re not saying to back down in real serious situations. If your spouse is hiding your children from you, denying you access to any marital funds, hiding assets in offshore bank accounts, or using the marital funds to support their paramour, then by all means, divorce litigation is necessary. Or, if substance abuse or domestic violence are concerns, again – court may be 100 percent necessary.
Fighting over the little things, however, like who gets the furniture, who gets the children during the summer, and who gets the vacation home – are not the best reasons to go to court. Instead, it’s better for spouses to put their differences aside so they can reach an agreement. An adversarial divorce:
- Increases stress exponentially
- Depletes the marital estate
- Increases legal fees significantly
- Prolongs the divorce for months or years
- Leads to a reduced settlement for both sides
If you have children, divorce litigation affects them too. Children are quite perceptive and they can tell if their parents are upset. If you’re stressed about the ongoing divorce battle, it’s going to trickle down to the kids, especially when they witness your heated interactions with their other parent. This alone, is reason to strive for a collaborative divorce.
Even if your spouse made some HUGE mistakes, it’s still beneficial to seek an amicable divorce. By having a collaborative divorce, you benefit from less stress, a much faster divorce, and usually, a larger marital settlement.
Collaborative divorce doesn’t necessarily mean you “automatically agree” on all aspects of the divorce. Quite the contrary. It just means that you both agree to settle your divorce out of court. You essentially negotiate back and forth until you reach a settlement you can both live with. This route saves thousands in legal fees and enables couples to get divorced much sooner. This way, they can move on to the next chapter of their lives.