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Collaborative Divorce: Save time and money with the team approach!
Is it time to regain some independence and take your life in another direction? Does court seem like too much trouble and too much money? Do you have friends who have spent years fighting in court? There’s got to be a better way. Yes! There is. It’s called “Collaborative Divorce”.

The team method provides you and your spouse with the tools you need to untangle your finances. Before throwing your family resources at the court process, consider your options. We want to help you solve conflicts in a respectful way. The team approach directs your money to the right specialist, at the right time and at half the cost of going to court. The team includes lawyers, financial specialists, and counselors.


Are mediation and collaboration the same? No. Mediators do not give legal advice. Their job is to help you set an agenda and help you stick to your agenda while you talk about solutions. You will not receive legal advice from a mediator even if the mediator you hire is also a lawyer. You and your spouse will either hammer-out terms that each of you can live with or the mediation fails.

The upside of mediation is that is can be the least expensive way to reach an agreement. The downside to mediation is the lack of legal advice. Unless you hire your own advisors, you and your spouse may agree to terms you think you can live with, only to find out later that you can’t, that the agreement is unenforceable, or that there were better options you did not see.

Having professionals on your team gives you a solid base for your best future.

How does it work?

With your team, you and your spouse will each have the guidance you need to move forward. You will each have your own lawyer, providing you legal advice every step of the way. Your team might also include a financial planner, valuators, a children’s specialist and trained divorce counsellors referred to as divorce coaches.

The team you assemble will be unique, depending on your family’s needs. Financial specialists eliminate fear and doubt by painting a clear picture of your healthy financial future. Child specialists are professionals who provide a voice for the children during team meetings. Child specialists also help the children identify and voice concerns in daily life.

A divorce coach is a professional trained to help you identify your personal needs in the separation process. While your lawyer may be able to help you voice these needs, a divorce coach will likely do it better, in less time, and at less cost. Divorce coaches may also help with parenting plans. This is a game-changer for many families with young children.

Collaborative versus Court

The difference between the team approach and “going to court” is that you give your lawyer permission to work as a team with your spouse’s lawyer and the other professionals on your team. You and your spouse commit to actively participate in the process and to provide all the information requested by your team of professionals. You both also agree not to go to court. These commitments enable a process where you, your spouse, and the whole team can work together to find tailored solutions that will carry your family through for the years to come.

In short, Collaborative Divorce lets you spend your money on the help you need, rather than spending your money fighting.

What does it cost?

The cost of separation depends on the level of conflict. You may be in a high conflict scenario if there’s a history of family violence or unwillingness to disclose financial information. Talk to a lawyer to find out if you are in a high conflict partnership.

Compare to the Cost of Litigation

In a high conflict scenario, estimated lawyer’s fees for going to court are $55,000 per spouse. On top of lawyer’s fees, there will often be costs for experts averaging an additional $10,000 per spouse. In total, the estimated family cost to resolve the separation through the courts is $140,000.

In a low conflict scenario, estimated lawyer’s fees for going to court are $15,000 per spouse. On top of lawyer’s fees, there will often be costs for experts averaging an additional $10,000 per spouse. In total, the reported average family cost through the courts is $50,000.

Value for Money

Compare with the reported average family cost of a Collaborative Divorce at $25,000 in low conflict scenarios and about $62,000 in high conflict scenarios. These averages include lawyer’s fees, a financial specialist, and a divorce coach for each spouse.

The money your family spends obtaining an agreement is an investment in your future. The better your investment, the happier you will be. A painful reality about judge-made separation agreements is that they often fall short in the long term. They are off-the-shelf solutions, rather than tailor-made. However, unlike a tailor-made suit, a tailor-made divorce is half the cost of the off-the-shelf variety. It’s a no-brainer.

Going to court leaves families with a negative return on investment, knocking you down when you’re most vulnerable. The long term benefits of a Collaborative Divorce make it an easy choice. The team approach boosts your family ahead of the power curve. When you spend less, learn more, and save time, you have more of everything you need to thrive.

See: Joanne J Paetsch, Lorne D Bertrand and John-Paul E Boyd, QC, An Evaluation of the Cost of Family Law Disputes: Measuring the Cost Implication of Various Dispute Resolution Methods, Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family, 2017 CanLIIDocs 280, <https://canlii.ca/t/286m>, retrieved on 2021-03-05