Collaborative Dissolution Myths

By Schonauer Law on Jul 08, 2019 at 08:28 PM in Collaborative

“I try to tell people that if they can, I say find a way that you can get into therapy and get into the collaborative dissolution. The dignified dissolution, because you're going to so regret if you don't.” – -Alec Baldwin-

Few are aware of the collaborative dissolution option, and fewer have knowledge of the collaborative dissolution process.  It is hard to imagine myths exist, but they do.

Myths about traditional litigious dissolution are many, and always lead to unrealistic expectations.  During the litigation process, some of these myths are never addressed, and the result is harm to the family. The collaborative team ensures myths regarding the collaborative process are addressed before and during the collaborative process, minimizing and perhaps eliminating the harm these myths can cause.

Myth #1: Because there is no Judge to hold the parties accountable, one client can take advantage of the other.

Truth #1: This Myth involves another, that judges hold parties accountable.  Judges have few tools to hold parties accountable, and most are reluctant to use those tools.  During a dissolution in court, Judges are tasked with finding what the facts are; when was the property acquired; what is its character of property, separate or community; and how much did the addition to the home cost and how was it funded.    

The collaborative dissolution is a process.  The collaborative team keeps each party accountable to the process, it is a critical part of the success of any collaborative dissolution.  Any power imbalance between the spouses is countered so the collaborative process and the team will assist the parties in neutralize any imbalance, and conduct that foment such imbalances, as much as possible, and prevent any one person from taking advantage of the other.

Myth #2: Fault has a better playing field in Collaborative Practice than it does in the courtroom.

Truth #2: Fault has no place in a dissolution.  However, judges are human, and only one human, with human foibles and biases like any other person.  During litigation, an improper focus on fault can be detrimental to the person pointing the finger.  It often angers the judge and often backfires causing irreperable prejudice.

While a client may think he or she may get satisfaction or compensation for the bad behavior of the other spouse in collaborative practice, collaborative is a team that eliminates fault as a factor.  Coaches help the parties deal with feelings of fault, guilt, anger, and shame, and move to what is important, hearing each other, processing information, and making better decisions.

Having the collaborative team deal with any issues of fault, allows for significantly different and more fair outcomes because it prevents the dissolution from turning into a carnival of finger pointing and blame.

Myth #3: “I can get what I want.”

Truth #3: Before choosing the collaborative dissolution, may people consult with a non-collaborative attorney who told the spouse what they will get if they go to court.  This is a red flag because no attorney can make such a promise or prediction.  Judges make mistakes, evidentiary, mistakes of facts, and mistakes in judgment.  Once these mistakes happen, they are hard, very hard, to fix.  In collaborative, each spouse has control over the outcome.  However, that control comes with the recognition and understanding that everyone involved, the parents and children, each have needs that need to be addressed.  Control belongs to the team.

The collaborative team assists the spouses to identify underlying needs, let go of wants and demands, and help each participate find acceptable collaborative solutions for the family.

For a further discussion regarding the myths of collaborative dissolution, call 805-233-7640, email me at [email protected] or visit Collaborative Practice California