Getting what you want in divorce

How do you get what you want in a divorce? What if you want something the court can’t give you?  One of the primary differences between a Collaborative divorce and a litigated divorce is Collaborative Law’s focus on the goals of each party vs. litigation’s focus on positions. In a litigated divorce, negotiation involves positional bargaining instead of interest-based negotiation which is the basis of Collaborative Law.  Parties argue over what percentage of the assets or liabilities or parenting time they will receive. In the litigation model, parties may start out with extreme positions hoping to end up somewhere in the middle. Other issues are determined more or less automatically, like setting child support, awarding the dependency exemption, or determining custody.  There may be argument and negotiation, but there isn’t a lot of dialogue.  Parties take what a court would give them rather than what they really want.

In Collaborative cases, parties focus on how to achieve their goals. The parties set goals, gather information, and then brainstorm to generate options. After evaluating the options, each party asks for what they want to help meet their needs. There are no automatic formulas. Rather, there are sincere discussions that lead to agreement.  The process empowers the parties to ask for what they really want, and usually the parties reach an agreement where they are both satisfied.

About Sean Stephens

Sean Stephens is a founding member of Stephens & Margolin LLP He was born in Eugene, Oregon and is a fourth generation Oregonian. Mr. Stephens attended the University of Oregon, and graduated in with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, with a minor in English Literature. His psychology studies emphasized early childhood development. To find out more or contact C. Sean Stephens, visit Stephens & Margolin LLP. You can find more about him at Stephens & Margolin LLP and find him on Google +" here.
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3 Responses to Getting what you want in divorce

  1. Good article. In VA, where I practice, college tuition is an example of “something the court can’t give you” that we negotiate in collaborative cases. Spouses tend to share an interest in doing what’s best for their kids; and, as result they figure out how to finance their educations, rather than focusing on VA courts’ lack of authority in this area.

  2. admin says:

    Thanks for the comment! Providing for college tuition for joint children is a great example of cooperative interest based bargaining rather than rights based bargaining.

  3. It sounds like collaborative divorce strongly encourages the parties to be reasonable.

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