When people hear the word “divorce”, they usually think of a lengthy, expensive and emotionally devastating legal process. This perception of divorce is often enough to keep people from considering it, even when it may be in their best interests. Divorce does not have to be this way.
A collaborative divorce is a matrimonial dispute resolution process whereby both parties and their lawyers commit themselves to resolving their differences fairly and equitably without resorting, or even threatening to resort, to the court.
Why collaborative law works
The collaborative law process is more cost-efficient, effective and amicable than traditional divorce methods so long as you keep two key points in mind:
First, you must realize that the adversarial judicial system is often ill-equipped to handle the emotionally-charged process of dissolving a marriage.
Secondly, you and your spouse also must desire to avoid litigation and commit to jointly addressing your differences with the assistance of professionals.
The attorneys representing the parties in collaborative law agree to help resolve the issues using cooperative rather than adversarial methods. Collaborative lawyers agree in advance to:
- Remove litigation as an option. If settlement discussions fail, the parties must hire separate counsel if they choose to go to court. Collaborative attorneys do not use the threat of litigation as a negotiating tool.
- Agree to complete financial disclosure with full documentation but without formal proceedings. Notably, complete financial disclosure is required even if you proceed to litigation.
- Use joint experts with respect to valuation questions.
- Settle custody differences without subjecting either the parties or the children to court –ordered evaluations. Rather, if an opinion of an expert is required, the parties agree to jointly consult with the expert.
- Focus efforts and skills on creative problem solving and on obtaining satisfactory results for everyone involved.