What is Collaborative Divorce?

It is the latest trend in divorce law. Collaborative Divorce is a non-confrontational divorce in which both parties agree to separate legally and all of their assets are divided equally between the parties. Once the spouses have reached a majority agreement about the division of their assets, they must seek a divorce lawyer to help them draw up a legally binding document called a “Narrative of Agreement.” The “Narrative of Agreement” is reviewed by a judge and a written agreement is entered into the court record. This process usually takes one to three days from start to finish, but can take longer if the parties involved are having issues or disputes that are not clearly defined in a written document such as a “Narrative of Agreement.”

What is Collaborative Law? It is a non-confrontational, legally binding agreement. Unlike a traditional divorce where attorneys haggle over property settlement and fight over child custody, this type of divorce is much quicker to conclude because it does not require lengthy negotiations and arguments. Many lawyers are now focusing their practices in this area because the process takes a shorter time and allows both divorcing parents an easier time moving on with their lives. In many cases, a trial divorce may not be financially viable for the divorcing couple. The quickie divorce allows each party to get on with their lives and allows the attorney to focus on building a stronger case for the client.

How is Collaborative Divorce helpful? This process gives divorcing couples the option to peacefully get their needs met in a court of law without the unnecessary intrusion of a spouse. When couples choose to work together in a collaborative divorce setting, they are able to reach a financial agreement that both parties can live with. This can also make the litigation process easier on all parties involved since there is no need for one party to hire an attorney who charges a high hourly rate to cover his/her expenses.

Who should use a Collaborative Divorce Attorney? This type of lawyer should be used by couples who want to achieve peaceful and amicable resolutions to their divorce matters. The Collaborative Divorce can be advantageous to individuals with minor children, or couples who do not wish to spend a great deal of time in courtrooms. These types of divorces often result in a written agreement that outlines key areas of the shared property and other financial responsibilities. It is important to hire a divorce attorney with experience dealing with similar divorce issues so he/she can present a compelling argument in the court so as to obtain the desired outcome.

When should I hire a mediator? A mediator is an impartial third party that offers advice and assistance during the collaborative divorce process. Mediation can be quite useful because it allows attorneys and spouses to speak freely without cameras recording their every word. However, it is always recommended that a mediator is present during this process, especially if an agreement has been reached, so that you can have greater insight into what the other spouse wants from the proceedings.

How much will a Collaborative Divorce cost? There is no fixed price, when it comes to compensating a collaborative law process. Each individual case is unique, so it is impossible to give a single answer. Many times it depends on how complex the legal issue is, and whether or not a trial would be helpful to the final results.

Who needs a Collaborative Divorce? Although no one has to use a collaborative divorce process, it is often recommended that couples with unresolved property and money issues to try to work out their issues without outside mediation. This method tends to end in a satisfactory outcome for all parties, although the final costs may be greater. In some cases, couples who do not have a good understanding of local house laws or who fail to follow local court orders may end up having to pay for legal assistance through the courts. It never hurts to seek legal representation when attempting to navigate the legal system.

What is not clear is whether a collaborative divorce is the better route to go for couples who are unsure of their future as a married couple, but who are willing to try to resolve their differences without resorting to divorce litigation. Couples who choose to go through the traditional channels of divorce litigation may not be aware of the added costs or complications that come with the alternative. Divorce mediation offers a less expensive way to determine the terms of your divorce and allows both you and your spouse to reach an agreement without filing a lawsuit. If your marriage is irretrievably broken, collaborative divorce may be an ideal route to take.