Making the decision to get a divorce is a difficult and life changing one. Many assume that a divorce requires a lot of time and money spent litigating in a court room, fighting to “win” the divorce. While this may be the case for some couples going through the divorce process, it doesn’t always have to be that way.
Couples who are interested in deciding the outcome of issues such as child custody, child support, and division of marital property without the use of litigation may benefit from collaborative divorce.
What is Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative divorce allows each party to hire an attorney of their choosing. Before the first meeting, each party will meet with their attorney privately. During this meeting, each attorney is informed of their clients’ needs and wants and will discuss any issues that may arise during the collaborative meetings.
During the four-way meetings, there may also be other professionals present, such as a financial neutral or child custody specialist. Both parties, in addition to their lawyers, will sign a participation agreement stating that they are committed to using cooperative techniques to negotiate the divorce. Both parties and their attorneys must also sign a “no court” agreement. This agreement directs both attorneys to withdraw from the case if it continues to litigation in court.
Benefits of a Collaborative Divorce
- Civilized, low-key, respecting process
- Saves time and money over litigation
- Utilize professionals from mental health and financial worlds
- Meetings take place around a conference table, a courtroom
- Open, informal, and honest exchange of information is expected al all partners
- Allows parties to decide how to handle post-settlement disputes
- Allows for the most customized solutions to your family’s reorganization
Is Collaborative Divorce Right for Me?
Collaborative divorce may be the best option for you if you want to remain out of the courtroom but cannot use a simple mediation process due to a dishonest, aggressive, uncooperative, or reluctant spouse. It’s also a good option if you still wish to have a lawyer represent only you and your best interests.
Typically, collaborative divorce does not take as long as litigation, either. A divorce settled in court can take anywhere from a few months to a few years. A collaborative divorce can take 3 to 14 months to complete depending on how quickly decisions are made.
Making a Decision
If you’re unsure which divorce process is best for you, a lawyer at McCabe Coleman Ventosa & Patterson PLLC can help. Our team of divorce and family law attorneys offer sound advice through several resolution methods and can guide you in choosing the right one for your situation.
Contact us today for a flat fee consultation and to get started.