A Law Student’s Perspective on Collaborative Divorce

By Molly Moffett

As a law student at Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University I have focused my practical experience in the area of family law. I view representing a client through their divorce as a great opportunity to help someone through a difficult time in their life by finding their new normal in the smoothest way possible. For better or worse, the thing that sets this area of law apart from the others is the emotional piece of every case that comes from each family’s unique dynamics. Some attorneys tend to add fuel to the fire and use these emotions to increase the length and cost of litigation. Others choose to give legal guidance and support while letting the client make an informed decision about what is best for their situation and their family. What is “best” may not look the same for every family.

The aspect of Collaborative Divorce that I find most appealing is that the client and their family are at the forefront of every decision. After attending the IACP’s Basic Training on Collaborative Divorce I found the following benefits of choosing a collaborative process over traditional litigation most compelling:

  1. Time. The collaborative process is not contingent on the Judge’s calendar. You decide how long or short your process will take.
  2. Money. If you commit to the collaborative process it is possible that your family will have more money to divide amongst yourselves and to go towards your children rather than going towards attorney’s fees and litigation expenses.
  3. Control. You decide what result works best for your family.
  4. Reduce Stress and Anger. Having control over the process will reduce the amount of stress and anger you have from your uncertainties with the legal process and how your interests will be met.
  5. Support. Although in traditional litigation your attorney is there to support you, in the collaborative process the whole collaborative team as a whole is there to support your family.
  6. Children. When parents have more time, money, control, and support, and less stress and anger towards each other, it is inevitable that the children will suffer less as well.

If I were going through my own divorce, especially where children were involved, I would certainly consider the collaborative process as an alternative to traditional litigation. I encourage others to do the same.

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