We’ve all heard stories about divorces in where one of the partners creates delay after expensive delay. Weeks can go by between court appearances where the decisions that will keep the process moving might or might not get made. And while a mediated divorce has the potential to be more efficient, someone who wants to delay the divorce or avoid paying support can stall in mediation as effectively as they can in a court of law.
In a collaborative divorce, the entire team has experience identifying and responding to efforts to delay the process. Both parties and their attorneys sign “no court” contracts at the outset obligating the lawyers to withdraw their representation if the partners end up changing their minds and going to court. This creates an incentive for both sides to keep the process moving.
And because collaborative divorce uses a team of specialists, it’s possible to sort practical obstacles from emotional reactions and to address whatever is motivating the attempt to delay. If one partner claims to be experiencing severe hardship, a neutral financial specialist will have enough information about the family’s financial situation to identify options.
If the issue is the pain of seeing the person you once counted on to hear your troubles and provide support, a divorce coach from can help navigate the roiled emotional waters. The fact that each partner has their own attorney, who they meet with alone as well as in collaborative divorce team meetings, reassures both that they are not being “taken” or unfairly treated.
The presence of a child specialist from on each collaborative divorce team helps to head off delays, too. By reminding both parents that conflict, uncertainty and tension are more likely to have a lasting negative impact on children than divorce per se, the child specialist can remind the parties why they chose a collaborative process in the first place, if needed.
Like any other negotiation, collaborative divorce works most efficiently when everyone is committed to a fair and respectful outcome in as timely a manner as possible. The end of a marriage is almost always painful. And delays often add to the pain. A collaborative team can keep the partners focused on their goal of a dignified dissolution and a good future relationship going forward.