When Is Collaborative Divorce Not Appropriate?

Stange Law Firm, PC

There are lots of instances where a party ought to consider a collaborative divorce. A collaborative divorce can help parties reach a settlement outside court such that litigation may not be necessary. For many parties, this is an option that they should at least consider.

However, there are some instances where a collaborative divorce is probably not appropriate. In other words, while collaborative divorce is a positive process for many, there are some times where it likely not a good option.

Take a case where there is domestic violence. In cases, where there has been abuse and violence, a collaborative divorce is usually not appropriate. In these instances, there could be a safety concern in terms of informal proceedings taking place outside a courthouse with metal detectors and a court bailiff. There might also be a power imbalance due to the violence where one party might feel as it the cannot negotiate without fear or intimidation.

Cases where one party is moving money or engaging in other behavior that is not above-board is likely a case where collaborative divorce is not appropriate. For collaborative divorce to work, parties need to be engaging in good faith behavior to reach a settlement. This means that parties are not engaging in conduct that is opposite of the spirit of settlement.

If abuse or neglect of the children is being alleged, these can also be tough cases for collaborative divorce as well. In these instances, a guardian ad litem might be needed to investigate the best interests of the children. Sometimes, a home study or custody evaluation might also be necessary.

In other cases, one or both parties goals could be so unreasonable, that collaborative divorce is just not practical. One should be careful not to completely throw in the towel here. In some instances in collaborative divorce, a settlement can be reached where it was once not thought possible. However, if one party wants supervised visitation for the other party with the children, or where the goals are otherwise diametrically opposed, collaborative divorce might not be a great option.

Nonetheless, it can still be beneficial for a party to still sit down and talk with a collaborative divorce professional to help determine whether it might be a worthwhile option for their case. Many do not even consider a collaborative divorce, and simply opt for litigation, where maybe they should at least give the collaborative process a look.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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Stange Law Firm, PC

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