One: It’s Faster
Traditional litigation can be a lengthy, time-consuming process, and it can take years to reach a resolution. With litigation, the courts decide when and how a matter moves forward. Even at the best of times, many courts have a large backlog. Since mid-March 2020, the courts in Ontario have suspended regular operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the courts have continued to hear emergency matters and have recently expanded their scope of operations, they will not resume normal operations until July 6, 2020 at the earliest. There inevitably will be a large backlog when the courts reopen. Most collaborative professionals, along with mediators and arbitrators, continue to work during the pandemic by offering their services virtually.
Two: It’s More Economical
Collaborative divorce often costs less than going to court. The court process is expensive, and its costs are unpredictable. Traditional litigation requires a lot of preparation, gathering documents, hiring experts, preparing legal briefs and arguments, and court fees which can quickly add up. With collaborative divorce, even if more team members such as family professionals and financial professionals, become involved, work is efficiently shared amongst team members. This way work is completed by the most capable team member at the lowest price.
Three: You Can Create a Customized Parenting Plan
By far the most prevalent issue family lawyers have dealt with during the COVID-19 pandemic are concerns about parenting time. Under collaborative divorce, you and your spouse can choose to work with a highly trained family professional, such as a psychologist or social worker, who is specialized in family dynamics. A family professional can help you create a customized parenting plan that ensures both you and your children’s needs are met, that promotes effective communication between you and your spouse, and that helps you establish and maintain an amicable long-term co-parenting relationship with your spouse.
Four: You Can Secure the Best Financial Outcome for your Family
Separation and divorce can have far-reaching and devastating effects on your finances. Upon separation, numerous financial issues need to be considered: child and spousal support, property division, business valuations, pension valuations and tax liabilities. With the collaborative process, you and your spouse can involve a neutral financial profession such as an accountant, financial planner, pension expert or business valuator. A financial professional can assist with financial disclosure, determine income for support purposes, help develop a budget that best meets your family’s needs, help create debt-repayment plans, value you and your spouse’s various assets, businesses and properties, and assess tax ramifications to help you and your spouse secure the best financial outcome for your future.
Five: You are in Control of the Process
Collaborative divorce can reduce the animosity, stress and anxiety that often occurs when a relationship breaks down. Unlike traditional litigation, with collaborative divorce you are in control of the process and you get to go at your own pace. There are no “winners” or “losers” in with collaborative divorce; you and your spouse are in control of decision making, as opposed to a judge or arbitrator. Further, under collaborative divorce, your privacy will be protected as personal details about your relationship will not become part of the public record via court documents. You and your spouse will work together in a respectful and positive manner which promotes effective communication both during and after separation to help secure the best long-term outcome for your family.