One question that comes up about collaborative law is, “How quickly can we reach a divorce?”
As we were reminded, looking at an article on the subject from Fort Worth-based collaborative lawyer Dick Price’s excellent blog, it’s usually faster than litigation, but it might not be the get-divorced-quick solution some people want.
Both Parties Must be Willing to Work Together
He notes that while collaborative law follows a road map that moves couples through divorce efficiently, it’s also a deliberate process that requires both parties to be cooperative and willing to gather and disclose information to help expedite the process.
As he also astutely notes, “We always have to remember that we can’t go faster than the slower party is willing to go.” Emotionally readiness plays a role in this, especially if it involves a person deciding on his or her own to divorce, and then announcing that decision to his or her spouse. It takes some people longer than others to adjust to change and acknowledge the change that divorce brings. Fortunately, collaborative law respects that process and is better equipped to handle it — through the involvement of mental health professionals — than litigation.
Litigation vs. Collaborative Divorce
But according to Price, litigation typically takes at least nine months to reach a final trial in a contested case from the time it’s initiated, and can sometimes be longer depending on the length of the discovery process and any necessary appraisals. Unlike litigation, which relies on the courts to schedule divorces alongside other items on a very busy court docket, collaborative lawyers and their clients meet in offices, and can work on their own schedules. If a couple and their lawyers are willing to schedule several meetings in succession and they’re forthcoming with information, it’s possible to wrap up a divorce settlement relatively quickly.
There is Always Flexibility
But even if one party still wants to go slower than the other, there’s a flexibility with scheduling collaborative meetings that simply doesn’t exist with the courts, and the lawyers involved have a committed, vested interest to bringing the couple to the table to reach a settlement.
Every divorce should be allowed to proceed at the pace that works best for that couple — and in a collaborative divorce, the couple truly gets to move at that pace.