If you are interested in using a non-adversarial method of marriage dissolution, a collaborative divorce could be for you. This relatively recent incarnation of the divorce process involves taking a team approach and leaving behind the acrimony and contentious nature of divorces that are normally decided by a family court judge. This type of divorce is not for everyone, however, so read on to learn more about what's involved in the collaborative divorce process.
What is a collaborative divorce?
The idea of all parties working together to achieve a common goal is radical, but it makes sense for those who are willing to be flexible and cooperate with each other, including the attorneys for both sides. The process brings together several experts and parties, such as financial advisors, mental health experts, child custody evaluators, and others. It should be emphasized that both parties must be on board for a collaborative divorce to work, and a respectful and cooperative attitude by both spouses is required.
How does the process work?
This process must involve:
1. Open, honest, and complete disclosure of financial dealings, including information concerning investments, real estate, bank accounts, titles, deeds, all debt, etc.
2. Issues are explored one at a time, with distractions from the current issue being set aside for later.
3. Conflict resolution methods are employed for issues in dispute. The most commonly disputed issues often involve child custody, child and spousal support, and debt and property.
4. A legally-binding divorce agreement is the goal and final step of the process. This agreement is filed with the court and will await a judge's approval.
What are the benefits?
Financial: Since the major issues that can take up court time and attorney fees are resolved outside of court, you should see a smaller bill for your divorce process. Additionally, the result of a successful collaborative divorce process is a non-contested divorce, which normally involves one quick appearance before a judge in most states, thereby reducing court costs.
Time: The court system often offers a calendar packed with postponements and delays, resulting in months of litigation. While a collaborative divorce can require a little more time up front, the time-consuming court process is largely avoided.
Stress and Emotional Impact: Issues are worked out in a casual and supportive atmosphere, with mental health experts involved. The less adversarial nature of a collaborative divorce can do wonders to reduce the emotional impact of divorce.
To see if this kinder, gentler form of divorce is an option for you and your spouse, contact a divorce attorney (such as one from Kolker Law Offices PC).