Collaborative Divorce is a non-adversarial alternative to traditional litigation. The process assists the spouses in resolving their issues together and is the best process to help couples with children. For those over 50 facing divorce, the collaborative process is an excellent option that provides privacy for the couple during the divorce.
How Collaborative Divorce Works
Each spouse is represented by an attorney who is trained in the Collaborative Divorce process. The spouses and their attorneys commit to resolving the issues without court intervention. If either spouse chooses to go to court over any issues, the collaborative process ends, and the spouses must find new attorneys.
The attorneys and spouses work with a team of neutral professionals which includes a mental health professional and financial professional. The team helps the parties understand their finances and to work together to resolve the issues and create the divorce settlement agreement. The agreement is filed with the court and becomes incorporated into the court’s final divorce judgment.
Advantages to the Collaborative Divorce Process
There are many advantages to a collaborative divorce including:
It is confidential. In traditional litigation, all documents are filed with the court. Decisions of a court may become public. Contentious court hearings may also be open to the public. In the collaborative process, nothing gets filed with the court except the final settlement agreement and there are no court hearings or decisions.
Neutral experts guide the parties to a resolution. Neutral experts educate the spouses on their options and discuss both positives and negatives of different approaches to a financial settlement, child custody and visitation, child support, division of assets, and spousal support.
It is a divorce with dignity. Name-calling and fault-finding are not part of a Collaborative Divorce. The goal is to avoid the personal damage that often comes from adversarial litigation. The focus is on the divorcing couple to work together on a settlement agreement that is acceptable to both parties. Divorcing parents are then able to go forward and work together in co-parenting their children.
Parties are in control of timing. The spouses control the timing of the divorce. They can come to an agreement in their own time frame. There is no waiting for a court date for various hearings, and no waiting for a final court date or for a decision by the court. For those who need to move at a slower pace, the process can also accommodate the need to slowly move through the process.
More cost-effective. Generally, because the spouses can do the work the attorneys ask them to do, and they spend their time in meetings in productive ways, it costs less than a traditional litigated divorce.
When a Collaborative Divorce May Not Work
When there are many conflicts and spouses have no level of trust between them the collaborative process may not work. Also, if there is an imbalance of power between the spouses, and one is much more powerful than the other, a Collaborative Divorce may not work.
If there is a chance that one party may not be forthcoming about the finances, or there are any allegations of domestic or child abuse, or abuse of alcohol or controlled substances, a Collaborative Divorce may not be the best option.
For more information, contact us at Rosenthal & Markowitz to schedule a consultation.