Collaborative Divorce vs. Litigated Divorce
Collaborative DivorceLitigated Divorce
Voluntary AgreementYou are not forced to accept an agreement. Nothing is finalized until you and your spouse agree that it is an acceptable solution.  Judge imposes mandatory judgment if you cannot agree.
Child-centeredChildren’s needs can be addressed sensitively and personally. Minimizes potential trauma that can sometimes last for generations.
ConstructiveFocus on finding creative solutions and problem solving. Mutual respect and openness reduces conflict and negative emotions. Focus on winning and losing in court, replaying the past problems of the marriage as enemies in court.
ControlYou control the agenda, negotiations, pace, process and final decisions.


Judge is in control.


PrivacyFinances, family issues and negotiations are kept private and confidential. Problems and assets are kept private.Divorce file, including finances and allegations made by either spouse, are open to the public. This can sometimes result in media attention.
ConflictCooperative.You and your spouse are enemies in court.
Co-ParentingHelps salvage critical long-term relationship between parents so the children’s interests are protected.Can destroy family relationships by ending up emotionally bruised after a divorce trial in court.
Lasting ImpactAgreements are much more likely to hold up over time because you have invested energy and ideas into understanding each other’s and your children’s needs together.

Effective problem-solving means fewer long-term arguments over who pays for what, especially when children are involved.

Post-divorce litigation frequently adds to costs.
CostYou manage the costs. Team uses neutral experts that are typically less expensive than attorneys to handle specialized topics. Costs are unpredictable and can escalate rapidly due to filing documents and motions, contentious claims, court hearings, and post-judgment litigation.
OutcomeMutually created, win-win settlement.Lawyers fight to win, but someone loses.
TimetableYou control the timetable. Six months is typical duration. Judge sets the timetable, with frequent delays due to crowded courtroom dockets. Trial can take months or years.
Outside ExpertsJointly retained specialists are neutral and serve both parties.You and your spouse each hire separate experts, doubling the cost.
CommunicationFace-to-face meetings foster open communication to safely negotiate settlement that focuses on most important goals. Back and forth phone calls and emails between litigating attorneys ratchet up emotions and make settlement more difficult.
CourtSince they have pledged to settle the case out of court, team members gather information and solve problems. Attorneys often waste time and money making threats to intimidate or gain advantage, contradicting or even belittling, each other in trial.
CustomizedCustomized property, financial support and child-related solutions fit your and your children’s personalized goals.

Create solutions often not possible in litigation, such as addressing college education costs. 

One size fits all according to the inflexible provisions of the law.

Arbitrary and uncertain outcomes of court litigation.

TransparentClients agree to share assets, debts, necessary information and documents voluntarily and in a timely fashion. Needs are communicated and solutions are explored. May involve expensive legal procedures to obtain information if your spouse is hiding documents or creating unnecessary delays.