If you and your spouse are facing a high-net-worth divorce, you may think litigation is the only way to manage this kind of complex undertaking.
However, another option to consider is collaborative divorce, which offers a variety of benefits for well-to-do couples including control over the outcome.
A little history
An alternative to litigation became law in Florida when the Collaborative Law Process Act went into effect on July 1, 2017. The state views collaborative divorce as a way for couples to end their marriage with dignity and respect while helping children to adapt without the stress and unhappiness that a court procedure often brings.
Traditional litigation can become a lengthy, contentious and expensive process. You and your spouse may disagree on who should keep the house, which parent should have more time with the kids and how to split the retirement accounts.
You will have to wait your turn on the court docket, and once you do go before the judge, he or she takes over the decisions. There is a good chance many of these will not go your way.
Collaborative law offers several advantages over litigation:
- Client control: The parties control both the pace of the process and the outcome.
- Privacy: Collaborative divorce is private whereas, in a court proceeding, all information becomes part of the public record.
- Cost-effective: Couples usually realize substantial savings over litigation.
- Team approach: Outside experts in matters such as finance and parenting can join the legal team to provide information to participants.
With the support and guidance of attorneys and other professionals, the divorcing parties begin the collaborative process by creating a binding Participation Agreement, which includes a commitment not to proceed with litigation.
If collaboration should fail, the attorneys for both spouses must resign from the case. Litigation would follow and the parties would have to hire new lawyers. However, statistics indicate that about 95% of all collaborative divorces succeed.