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Collaborative divorce costs less than contested divorce

Any California resident who has gone through a contested divorce knows just how expensive and time consuming that type of divorce can be. A case can easily take more than a year to conclude, and former spouses often find themselves financially and emotionally exhausted, and sometimes embittered by the ordeal.

According to practicing attorneys who have worked closely worked with hundreds of divorcing couples, a contested divorce can easily cost more than $100,000 as both spouses try to secure a final order in their favor -- even though the couple may have been financially struggling before they filed for divorce. In fact, the fear of an expensive divorce has probably led more than one spouse to stay in an unpleasant marriage.

For these couples, a collaborative divorce could be most welcome. The cost of a collaborative divorce is considerably less, and yet both spouses still have the security of their own attorneys, a financial consultant and a counseling consultant as they negotiate to settle their differences. If there are minor children, a child-welfare professional can make sure the process addresses the children's emotional needs and that the final settlement satisfies their best interests.

During a collaborate divorce meeting, both parties work with their attorneys and the other experts to peacefully resolve the required legal issues that come with most divorces, including spousal support, child custody, child support and property division. Once their issues are resolved, the couple will sign a contract that is then taken to court for final approval. The process works because it requires full disclosure, transparency and mutual respect.

A collaborative divorce can be settled far more quickly than a traditional litigated divorce -- within three to four months. In addition to being less expensive, the details involved also remain private; in contested divorces, court documents are open public records.

Source: Millionaire Corner, "The Benefits of Collaborative Divorce," Kent McDill, March 3, 2015

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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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