Typically, in a collaborative divorce, each side hires an attorney to help negotiate a settlement. Normally, before negotiations begin, each side agrees that if a settlement cannot be reached and the case becomes contested in court, the attorneys will withdraw.
In many circumstances, the attorney that you used to represent you in the collaborative process would not represent you in court. Other experts (such as child psychologists, CPAs, etc.) can be brought into the collaborative process as well.
Attorneys can often help clients resolve an issue by trying to explain "who is wrong/right" and "who would win/lose" in court. However, your question assumes that there is a right or wrong answer for every issue that may come up.
You may hear some attorneys refer to a court battle as "going to Vegas." This is because most of the time, you can never be completely sure of the outcome in a particular case if a judge has to make the final decision. This is particularly so in divorce cases because many of the issues in a divorce, like "the best interests of a child" or the "equities of the parties" often do not have a clear-cut right or wrong answer. Just like two different sets of parents can have different views on raising children - so too can different judges.
Because of this, it is often difficult for attorneys to predict exactly what will happen if you go to court. An experienced attorney may have a good deal of insight as to what might happen, or what is likely to happen, if you go to court. However there are many issues where it is not possible to make a prediction on the outcome with any certainty.
Many attorneys and clients prefer collaborative divorce because they feel it lacks the adversarial nature of a contested court case and creates an environment that fosters cooperation. Others feel that by agreeing not to go to court, clients may be getting themselves into a situation where their hands are tied unnecessarily.
Ultimately, the decision to pursue a collaborative divorce is yours to make. Just keep in mind that choosing not to pursue a collaborative divorce doesn't necessarily mean your case will be a fully litigated "battle." Even if you do not participate in a "collaborative" divorce process as that term is typically used, it is still certainly possible to negotiate, mediate, or take other steps toward a settlement of your case.
It would probably be worthwhile for you to consult with an attorney about the specific issues in your case and your options for dealing with them.
I agree with my colleague. The collaborative or uncontested divorce is a time and financially efficient process. However, it is not uncommon for the parties to have slight disagreements before or during the process. That is why it is important for each party to hire counsel, even for an uncontested divorce. One attorney will naturally take the lead with drafting the documents and advising one client, while the other attorney will protect the other party's interests by negotiating the disagreements and reviewing the documents. Good luck!
This answer is for general informational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. It is always recommended that you contact an attorney licensed in your state, that practices in the relevant area of law, to schedule an in-person consultation.
Like mediation, collaborative divorce is a fairly modern construct which is not without its flaws. If you cannot agree, it dies on the vine, and you are left with the need to litigate the unresolved issues. In fact, sometimes, you're left with the need to litigate all of the issues, since the other issues formerly agreed to will no doubt be withdrawn in a contested proceeding. If you cannot agree, roll up your sleeves and hire counsel. Good luck.
The answers to questions provided in response to the request for assistance are general in nature, and reflect information which is primarily based upon general legal principals, and may additionally reflect Ohio principles of legal practice, as this is the primary location of this Attorney's practice. As with any legal advice, the advise is general in character, and should not be put into practice without specifically consulting your local counsel, who will possess far more insight into the applicable standards and laws of your specific State, your case's specific issues and the local Rules of Court and practices of the specific jurisdiction your legal action is governed by. You are specifically instructed : Do not proceed without first discussing this matter with your own local Attorney. This Office does not provide free legal advice by telephone. A 15 Minute Consultation can be obtained at no cost for certain types of legal cases, but to obtain same, an Office appointment is required. Provision of the answers to general questions does not constitute an act of representation, and the Attorney shall not be deemed to accept employment based upon the responses contained herein. The reader is advised that they utilize the general suggestions contained in the responses at their own risk, and under no circumstances should they disregard the advise of their present local legal counsel based upon any suggestions or opinions contained herein. Also, the bast method to discuss a case with an attorney is to do so directly, by scheduling a formal consultation in their office, bringing with you at the time of the meeting all of your relevant paperwork, including any contratcs, any Orders from Court, decrees, complaints, pleadings, etc., and any other relevant information for the attorney to review. General information via the internet is no substitute for an actual meeting with an attorney. The advice provided on line in response to the limited information is provided without charge. It is also provided without the benefit of face to face discussions, so before you act--consult an attorney in person.
Sign up to receive a 10-part series of useful information and legal advice about the divorce process.