Erin Durnell answers:
In my experience, traditional divorce takes, on average, about 6 months to 1 year to complete. Some are much faster, but some take longer. In a collaborative divorce, because the parties are agreeing to reach agreement, they are able to identify common goals, exchange information, and begin holding collaborative meetings as quickly as they wish. In mediation, parties may negotiate for 8 or 10 or 12 hours, then finally reach an agreement because someone is exhausted and gives in.
Worse, they might work that long, not reach an agreement, and then have to litigate. Depending on the time required for the hearing, parties may have to wait several weeks or months for their hearing. In collaborative divorce, a case with an emotionally-charged issue might require a few sessions to work through. But it’s important to note that each session is short – perhaps 1 or 2 hours long. This allows the parties to work through their issues without feeling the pressure of getting everything done in one day, and without the threat of “going to court” if things don’t come together in that particular session.