What Is Collaborative Divorce?
Couples who are looking to keep their divorce out of court and avoid the stress of litigation have turned to collaborative divorce instead of conventional divorce methods. As the name implies, collaborative divorce emphasizes working together to come to a divorce settlement. Not to be confused with mediation, collaborative divorce incorporates a range of alternative dispute resolution methods to help divorcing couples reach an agreement (sometimes including mediation)
When a couple decides to move forward with a collaborative divorce, both parties must sign a Collaborative Participation Agreement. This agreement attests to their commitment to act in good faith, exchange information honestly, and work together to achieve the best possible outcome.
During a collaborative divorce, the couple will work together to come to terms, including property division and spousal support. To aid in this process, they may bring in professionals from a variety of industries. For example, financial planners may help the couple figure out the best way to divide their assets. Meanwhile, child psychologists may help them develop a custody plan that will support their family's specific needs.
The Benefits of the Collaborative Law Method
In recent years, the collaborative law method has increased in popularity. Largely, this is because when effectively employed, it can help people resolve their legal disputes in less time, with less stress, and is often less costly than traditional methods. Divorce is already a highly emotional, difficult process. Collaborative divorce allows couples to retain control and autonomy during the process without the high stress of having to appear in court.
A major benefit to collaborative divorce is that it keeps your divorce relatively private. When you must litigate divorce matters in court, your divorce becomes part of the public record. For many people, this is not an ideal situation. While your divorce does have to be registered with the courts, and child custody and support agreements have to be approved by the courts, the process of negotiation and disclosure stays private.
To learn more about the benefits of a collaborative law divorce, review our blog post here.
When Collaborative Divorce Doesn't Work
While there are many benefits to a collaborative divorce, this method is not for everyone. In high-conflict situations, it may be better for everyone to go through traditional divorce litigation. Because collaborative divorce requires full cooperation and communication between both parties, it can be very difficult for those who struggle to communicate and cannot get along. Furthermore, in situations where there have been domestic violence or abuse instances, collaborative methods may be inappropriate.
Before moving forward with the collaborative divorce method, you should speak with an attorney knowledgeable in both collaborative law and traditional divorce methods.
Collaborative Divorce When You Have Children
One situation in which the collaborative method can be particularly useful is when the divorcing couple shares minor children. The collaborative divorce method can help parents develop a more effective coparenting relationship while going through their divorce. It can also encourage both parents to be involved in the decision-making process as their custody, visitation, and support agreements are being developed.
The collaborative method may also encourage healthier dispute resolution between coparents and help them develop stronger communication skills. Many parents find that taking a collaborative law approach to their divorce enabled them to stay more focused on their children's needs and less caught up in the win-lose dynamic many divorces suffer from.
If you are considering filing for divorce and want to find out if the collaborative method is right for you and your family, contact Hunt Law Firm, PLLC to schedule a consultation. Our attorneys are standing by to help you today.