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.