Collaborative Divorce in Sacramento

Collaborative divorce is a new way for couples to work together on ending their marriages.

Collaboration works because it is less painful, eliminates stress on any children and allows both parties to step out of a marriage without the emotional and financial problems so many divorces create.

The collaborative divorce settlement agreement is reached through four way sessions. Often, each spouse also has a divorce coach - a marriage and family therapist (MFT) - and the couple may also share a financial specialist (usually a CPA) and a child specialist (usually another MFT) and a lawyer for each client.

The Marriage and Family Therapist's role in this case is not to attempt reconciliation but to improve communication between the spouses and to help them set priorities for themselves and their children. Often therapists are perceived as people you go to before a divorce or after a divorce, but the reality is they serve a vital role during the divorce when the stress levels can be the highest.

The couple then negotiates the collaborative divorce, with assistance from the team.

The entire process takes perhaps a half-dozen meetings, costs less than litigated divorces and can be completed within a few months.

The collaborative approach requires a commitment to staying out of court until an agreement is negotiated. It puts children first and acknowledges that these two people will still have to deal with each other over everything from child rearing, to housing costs, to long term investments.

Collaborative divorces are still fairly rare.

Collaborative divorce is not for everyone.

Collaborative divorce may not work for those dealing with mental illness, substance abuse or violence. Please see other areas in our site for coping with these problems for yourself or your partner.

But couples don't have to be walking in the door holding hands for it to work, either. The biggest advantage of a collaborative divorce is that it usually ends with less animosity between the former spouses. If they have children, they are going to be bound together through their children for the rest of their lives.

The cost of collaborative divorces -- like all types of divorces -- can range widely, but it usually runs about one-third of the cost of the litigated version for comparable cases.

Type of Divorce What Happens: What It Costs: How Counseling Helps:
Litigated Divorce Each spouse hires an attorney who zealously advocates for his or her client's positions.
The most expensive option. May run around $20,000 but can easily top $100,000, especially if it ends up in court. (The vast majority of divorce cases are settled outside of court.) Traditionally is used after the divorce to heal the emotional scars of litgation. Should be used throughout the process to aid children and spouses in processing the dramatic changes to thier lives.
Uncontested Divorce The simplest and least expensive route. (For those married less than five years, without children and with little debt or property, there is a summary dissolution procedure that's especially simple.) An attorney may typically charge about $2,000 to handle paperwork. Counseling usually occurs either before the divorce, or if unsuccessfull, to process stress and grief after the divorce. Counseling is important throughout the ordeal to maintain emotional balance and peace of mind over the choices being made.
Mediated Divorce A couple works with a mediator to arrive at agreement. The costs of mediation followed by divorce filings depend on the number of sessions, and runs generally $5,000 to $10,000. Reduces the stress on all parties. Minimizes the emotional upheaval of divorce and gives children and spouses the opportunity to grieve the loss of the family as they know it.
Collaborative Divorce Like mediation, the process requires a good-faith effort and commitment. If it fails, the attorneys and all team members shall not represent the clients in litigation. Generally between $5,000 and $15,000 Acknowledges the stress on all parties and creates a new picture of what this family will now look like. Spouses are encourage to be parents first, partners in finances second and divorcing parties last.

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