When a collaborative split may not be the best idea

We frequently write about the advantages of amicable and collaborative divorces between married partners and splits between unmarried, cohabitating couples. When separations of any kind are amicable, fair, collaborative and cooperative, they tend to be less costly and less time-consuming than contentious, litigated divorce cases. However, an amicable and collaborative approach is not one that should be embraced by all couples.

Sometimes litigating a split is necessary. When one or both former romantic partners require protection, when one or both parties are true narcissists or when a very particular and important end like child custody arrangements are sincerely disputed, it may be necessary to litigate the split.

For example, victims of domestic violence should not generally agree to a collaborative process. Depending on the level of protection necessary to ensure a victim’s safety, an experienced attorney will work to both ensure that a victim has as little contact with his or her abuser as possible and will work to ensure that all property division and child custody and support issues affecting the victim are determined fairly and without intimidation.

In addition, when one party tends to be manipulative, secretive or could otherwise impede the fairness of the process, it is generally inadvisable to choose a collaborative approach. Finally, when both parties fundamentally disagree on a critically important issue like division of the marital home or which parent should get custody of the children, it is likely that litigation will be the best route for affected former romantic partners to take.

Source: The Huffington Post, “6 Times Never to Be Friends With Your Ex,” Andrea Bonior, April 2, 2014

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