The old-style divorce often deals with the children according to assumptions and formulas that have little to do with the involved individuals. Judges and traditional attorneys often know nothing or little about child development and family systems. Often parents have parenting plans imposed on them. Third parties such as guardians ad litem and judges strongly influence how your children are raised and they do not have to live with their mistakes. Often outside experts are forced on the parties or the parties may engage expensive competing experts. Even in mediation, parties often “settle” for parenting plans that are less than perfect because of the costs and risks of additional litigation. The result is often that neither party takes “ownership” in old-style parenting plans and they ignore or resist following the plans. The old-style approach encourages criticism and attacks on the other parent, hurting the children in the process.
In the Collaborative approach, the focus is on cooperating and respectfully resolving parenting differences. The parties identify the important parenting issues and create unique and effective parenting plans with the assistance of their attorneys. In the Collaborative approach, the parties decide if experts are needed and share the cost of needed experts. Since both parents participate as a team, the resulting parenting plan is more likely to meet the needs of the children and is more likely to be embraced by the parents. Naturally, because the Collaborative approach involves less conflict, the children see and experience much less stress than often occurs during old-style divorces.