Collaborative Law is a type of dispute resolution which is settled outside of the court system. While it is a newer method, it is growing in popularity for family law cases due to its processes which are known to save time and money. When used for divorce, the concept is in its name. The goal is to collaborate to reach an agreement where both spouses win, rather than fight through litigation where only one spouse wins. It is widely recognized as a respectful approach with long-lasting mutual benefit.
This type of divorce is a voluntary process initiated by a contract or participating agreement. It binds both partners together and serves as the roadmap throughout the settlement course.
Each spouse will hire their own collaborative divorce attorney. These legal experts are committed to working with you and your spouse to create a positive and supportive atmosphere through which you both can reach a resolution without the threat of future litigation.
The collaborative divorce process
Entering into a collaborative divorce agreement is a straightforward legal process. First, you and your partner will each need to identify and hire a collaborative attorney. These attorneys will be with you every step of the way. After you initially hire and meet with your own attorney, you will meet regularly as a group which includes you, your attorney, your spouse, and their attorney. During these meetings, you and your spouse can expect to negotiate the terms of your property settlement, child custody, child support, and/or support agreement.
You and your spouse, along with each of your attorneys, may also decide to establish a support system also referred to as a “divorce team,” which may include child custody specialists, financial advisors, or other professional counselors.
Most collaborative divorces include the following process points:
- The signing of a collaborative participation agreement. This is the initial step of any collaborative process. This agreement is signed by all participants. The participation agreement has important meaning to the collaborative divorce process and signifies that both partners and their attorneys have made a conscious choice to work together and stay out of court system.
- Development of a good faith agreement. You and your spouse will also agree to work collaboratively and voluntarily to reach a mutually acceptable settlement agreement.
- Disclosure of information. With the help of your individual attorneys, both parties will gather and voluntarily share all information pertinent to your divorce agreement.
- Creation of a shared financial plan. You and your partner will work together on a holistic financial agreement that considers both of your needs and interests.
- Formulation of a parenting plan. If you have children, both parents will collaborate, with help from your attorneys, to build a parenting arrangement that considers your children’s individual and specific needs.
- Participating in any necessary mental health and/or financial professional evaluations. You and your spouse can enlist the help of professionals to support your mental and financial health, at any time during the collaborative process.
- Enlisting the assistance of additional, neutral experts. If wanted or needed, you and/or your partner may also seek out professional help from other experts, such as additional lawyers, financial advisors or planners, coaches, and child specialists.
The role of your collaborative divorce attorney
During a collaborative divorce, your attorney and your spouse’s attorney will remain focused on reducing conflict levels throughout the divorce process.
Experienced collaborative law professionals are committed to reaching an out-of-court resolution. As your legal counsel, each collaborative divorce attorney will work with you and your spouse to:
- Ensure you both understand the law and your individual rights.
- Make certain that you’re both able to effectively voice your interests, needs, and concerns.
- Move through the collaborative process with respect, adhering to your good faith statement.
- Maintain active involvement from you and your spouse in all settlement meetings.
- Help both parties find solutions that meet the family’s collective needs.
- Act as your advocate for resolution.
- Assist in helping you accurately and articulately communicate your wants, wishes, and needs.
- Identify and involve neutral legal and non-legal advocates to help you and your spouse maximize positive outcomes, by helping you identify and gain the help of additional professionals.
Your collaborative divorce attorneys share an important commitment to you and your partner to create a positive and supportive atmosphere. This process is proven to be less adversarial and combative than a typical divorce within the court system. A collaborative divorce is also known to be a healthier option for families as parents are treated equally rather than primary or secondary.
Interested in learning more about collaborative divorce?
If you have specific questions about how a collaborative divorce might work in your unique situation, please don’t hesitate to give ROAD to RESOLUTION a call at (980) 260-1600. Our Charlotte-based team of legal experts is ready to help you. Our mission is to offer support and guidance to you and your family.
Note: This blog is intended to be informational only and shall not be construed as legal advice. For more information, please contact www.ROADtoRESOLUTION.com.