While collaborative divorce has good success rates, there will often still be times when couples just can’t agree on something. Does this mean you’ll have to give up on a collaborative divorce as an option?
Not necessarily. If couples are having a difficult time agreeing to anything then, yes, you may end up having to secure new attorneys (you can’t use the same attorney in a collaborative situation as in a contested situation) and go forward with litigation. However, depending upon the issue in question and the overall state of your negotiations so far, you may be able to submit a single or limited issue for third party consideration by a judge.
The key is whether or not this type of move would disrupt the collaborative process. Sometimes, for example, couples do really well in collaborative divorce as a whole but struggle with just one or two issues. If the couple can agree to allow a judge to rule on these specific issues without letting the ruling affect the rest of the collaborative negotiations, then it is very possible to allow the judge to decide just a particular issue and incorporate that decision into the collaborative agreement.
For this to work, both parties must agree that submitting an issue to a judge will not impede the collaborative process and they must also agree to abide by the judge’s ruling.
For more information on collaborative divorce and mediation, you may want to check out Katherine Stoner’s book on the subject, Divorce Without Court: A Guide to Mediation & Collaborative Divorce.