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Part 5: When Collaborative Divorce Fails: The Cost of Starting Over and Prolonging the Divorce

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Introducing a new five-part series of revealing articles focusing on the collaborative approach to divorce. At the Law Office of Ronald L. Hendrix, P.C., we seek to educate and inform individuals who browse the internet in search of accurate information about the available divorce options. Our series on collaborative divorce is a must-read for anyone considering divorce.

Even when couples enter into a collaborative divorce with the best intentions, sometimes the process breaks down and parties must take a more litigious route to complete their divorce. The failure of the collaborative process may occur for various reasons, and when it does, starting over can be expensive.

When a couple enters into the collaborative process they should be confident that they will be able to proceed in an agreeable and cooperative fashion. However, once the divorce is underway, it is not uncommon for unforeseen issues to arise, and spouses may realize that they are not in agreement on as many areas as they had expected.

At the root of the concept of collaborative divorce is trust. Many failures of collaborative divorce are due to one or both parties’ perception that the other party is not being fully honest. Once it is suspected that there is an attempt by either party to be less than honest in a collaborative divorce, the process may begin to break down.

Among concerns that couples express when entering into any kind of divorce is that of timeframe. They want to know how long it will take for the divorce to be final. This may be, in part, because divorce is an emotional event for anyone to go through, but more likely because prolonging the process can also add to the financial burden.

Unfortunately, when a collaborative divorce attempt breaks down and the spouses move into a more traditional process, the parties must re-establish themselves with new attorneys who will take over their cases. This is necessary as the former collaborative attorneys have been privy to information shared in open meetings with both clients and have had a level of exposure not typical in a non-collaborative divorce. Therefore, they are unable to further represent their clients.

The necessity for divorcing spouses to find new counsel results in unavoidable duplication of effort as the new attorneys collect and evaluate the details of the case. This not only adds to the timeframe of the divorce, but the expense as well.

In addition, since collaborative divorce is a team concept, it may entail additional professionals such as a financial neutral or divorce coach to assist in aspects of divorce, each billing for their time. If the collaborative attempt fails after several months of meetings, the related expenses will have accumulated and may result in thousands of additional dollars that were spent.

When a collaborative divorce breaks down, it is guaranteed that there will be a recovery period to get the divorce process back on track. The added cost of this transition is different for every case, but unavoidable in this situation. The collaborative process is not advisable for every divorce case, and the possibility of failure is an important consideration when deciding whether the collaborative approach is right for you.

Part 1: Beware! The Reality of Collaborative Divorce Attorney Cliques
Part 2: Lack of Formal Discovery Process Raises Concern in Collaborative Divorce
Part 3: Choosing Collaborative Divorce Complicates Addressing Future Post-Decree Issues
Part 4: Collaborative Divorce Practice May Attract Inexperienced Attorneys
Part 5: When Collaborative Divorce Fails: The Cost of Starting Over and Prolonging the Divorce.

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