Many divorcing couples consider collaborative law, where they sign a contract with their respective attorneys saying that their attorneys are forbidden from settle the case in court. But if you choose your attorney carefully the collaborative process is unnecessary. If you are already in agreement about the terms of your divorce a better option would be uncontested divorce. If you need help negotiating the terms of divorce a good Portland divorce attorney you carefully selected to work toward a negotiation will serve the purpose of collaborative divorce without being locked into never proceeding to a court date.
In my experience as a litigator with many years’ experience both litigating, and quickly settling divorce or custody cases, I have found that one of the primary factors in how ugly a divorce case can be, is who the parties hire as their respective attorneys. While a party is supposed to have the ultimately guiding hand in how their divorce plays out, the reality is that the attorney is the one who steers the ship and sets the tone for the case. The attorney drafts the letters that will either be hostile or friendly, will either be focused towards peaceful resolution or aggressive posturing. In short, if you both hire attorneys who are aggressive litigators then your case is going to be much more stressful than if you hire attorneys who by nature prefer to focus on more effective solutions to litigation.
There is an extremely high percentage of family law attorneys who are good lawyers, that focus their practice on quickly and reasonably settling the case through negotiation and open discussion rather than threats and posturing. In my experience, if both parties simply screen their lawyer looking for someone who is both a reasonable human being and knowledgeable about the divorce process, rather than someone who stresses litigation, then they can and will be able to resolve their case without any need for litigation.
Most divorce cases settle long before they ever see the inside of a court room. There often is no reason to hamstring yourself by signing a collaborative law contract when the simple alternative is that you both agree to screen your prospective attorney rather than trying to hire the stereotypical “bulldog” attorney. Do your homework and save yourself time, money, and aggravation.