A collaborative law divorce helps couples establish a supportive relationship post-divorce and avoid contentious, expensive, and time-consuming legal proceedings.
What Is a Collaborative Law Divorce?
A collaborative law divorce is a proceeding that allows a couple to dissolve their marriage without litigation. It is a non-adversarial process that costs less and takes less time than litigated divorce proceedings. The main aspects of a collaborative divorce are:
- A pledge to forego litigation during the collaborative process. Each party retains a collaborative law divorce attorney and sign a participation agreement promising to work together in good faith to resolve any issues.
- An honest exchange by both spouses. Both parties commit to full disclosure at the outset of the collaborative process allowing the parties to avoid written discovery, depositions, and discovery motions.
- Sharing of third-party experts. The parties jointly retain a neutral financial advisor that makes suggestions about the division of assets based on the parties’ goals. The couple can also seek the guidance of additional professionals to advise on communication, emotional, or parenting issues.
Why Is Collaborative Law Divorce Good for New Beginnings?
Traditional divorces are often contentious, with each party is fighting for his or her best interests. Although parties should advocate for themselves, approaching divorce as a battle is harmful to a future amicable relationship. Many couples hope to remain friends after a divorce for their own sake or the sake of their children.
A collaborative divorce allows parties to work together toward shared goals. It is a process through which the couple can begin a new chapter in their relationship rather than ending it altogether. The focus of a collaborative law divorce is building a productive future relationship rather than rehashing past grievances.
Privacy is also a benefit of a collaborative law divorce. Team members work together in private meetings rather than in open court. Once the parties have resolved all issues, they file a legal document with the court and avoid a public record of the divorce proceedings.
What Happens When a Collaborative Law Divorce Fails?
When the parties to a collaborative law divorce cannot reach an agreement, either party can end the process and proceed with litigation. Unfortunately, participation in the collaborative process disqualifies the parties’ attorneys from involvement in the litigation, so the parties must obtain new counsel. Even with failure as a possibility, however, a collaborative law divorce gives divorcing couples the best chance at establishing a healthy relationship for the future.