It’s no secret that divorces can be costly, time-consuming, and emotionally exhausting. Some people stay in bad marriages rather than go through the expensive turmoil associated with most divorces. However, there is another option to the traditional divorce process – a collaborative divorce. Could a collaborative divorce be appropriate for you?
What is a Collaborative Divorce?
A collaborative divorce is a method of dissolving a marriage that emphasizes cooperation and respect. Instead of approaching divorce as a contentious, adversarial process, a collaborative divorce encourages the couple to work together to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. This form of alternate dispute resolution (ADR) aims to minimize conflict and promote a healthy, amicable resolution.
While a collaborative divorce may not work for all divorce cases, it could be appropriate in the following circumstances:
- Both parties are willing to treat each other with respect and dignity during the process.
- You and your spouse are willing to cooperate and make compromises.
- You value your privacy and wish to keep the divorce details confidential.
- You have children and wish to have more flexibility in creating custody and visitation agreements.
The Benefits of a Collaborative Divorce
One of the key advantages of a collaborative divorce is the control it provides to the couple. Instead of leaving decisions to a judge, the spouses have the power to negotiate and decide on the terms of their divorce. This process also tends to be less adversarial, reducing emotional stress and promoting healthier communication between the parties.
Furthermore, because the process is designed to avoid court, it can potentially save time and money. While the collaborative process does involve costs (such as attorney fees and costs for other professionals), these can often be less than the costs associated with a protracted court battle. Additionally, the couple is not at the mercy of the court’s schedule, so the process can usually be concluded relatively quickly.
The Collaborative Divorce Process
A collaborative divorce begins with each spouse hiring a collaboratively trained attorney. The couple and their attorneys then sign a participation agreement, committing to resolve their issues without going to court. If they can’t reach an agreement and decide to litigate, both lawyers must withdraw from the case. This stipulation is intended to encourage everyone involved to commit fully to finding a resolution through collaboration.
The next step involves a series of four-way meetings between the spouses and their attorneys. These meetings provide an opportunity for open discussion and negotiation, where all assets, debts, and issues related to children (if applicable) are addressed.
In addition to legal counsel, couples may involve other neutral professionals such as financial advisors, child specialists, and mental health professionals. These experts can provide guidance on complex issues like asset division, child custody, and emotional stress. The goal is to create a divorce agreement that respects the needs and interests of both parties.
Reach out to our attorneys at Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri if you think a collaborative divorce might be right for you or if you have questions about the process. We understand that divorce is a personal matter and will help you find the best option for your situation.
Disclaimer: this article does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.