When you are deciding how to get a divorce, it may feel as though you are limited to options that are adversarial and extremely costly, and traumatic for your family. It doesn’t have to be that way. You have options.
Courts in every state encourage couples to work together to resolve divorce disputes, and when you can agree, you'll notice that the process is much more comfortable. If you and your spouse can't agree to all the terms of your divorce, you may find it helpful to hire a mediator—or, a neutral third party—to facilitate a conversation and resolve your disputes.
Collaborative divorce is an alternative process that removes the element of litigation and settles cases respectfully, transparently, and privately. Unlike a contested divorce, the Collaborative Practice dispute-resolution process is based on a pledge in which you, your spouse, and your attorneys contractually agree to negotiate a mutually acceptable settlement without having courts decide on issues. The thing that really sets Collaborative Divorce apart from an uncontested divorce or a Mediated divorce is the incorporation of additional experts such as a CPA or licensed therapist.
STEPS IN A COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE:
1. The first step is a conversation between divorcing spouses to ensure that both are willing to negotiate and work together in the collaborative process. If either party is unwilling to participate, a collaborative divorce won't work.
2. Step two is for each spouse to hire an attorney. When you choose an attorney, it's essential that you hire someone experienced in collaborative divorce and willing to use alternative dispute resolution, like mediation, rather than someone who wants to go to court and ask the judge to decide your unresolved issues.
3. Next, your attorneys will jointly select experts to participate in the process and advise on issues like taxes, or parenting transitions.
4. Next, meet with your attorney privately to discuss what you want from the divorce. Your conversation should include how you would like to divide all marital property, child custody, visitation, child support, and maintenance.
5. Once you've met with your attorney, it's time to meet with your spouse, the neutral experts, and your spouse's attorney in the first of many settlement discussions. At your initial meeting, both parties (and their attorneys) will typically sign a "no court" agreement, which allows both attorneys to withdraw from your case if either spouse exits the collaborative divorce process to begin litigation in court.
5. Finally, when you and your spouse have negotiated the terms of your divorce, your lawyers will draft a settlement agreement for both parties to sign. If the judgment is fair and reasonable to both spouses, the judge will sign it, and it will become your final judgment of divorce.
The Collaborative Divorce process timeline depends on the parties involved. Some move very quickly and others will require multiple sessions. I would estimate the collaborative divorce process takes six to eight months on average.
The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Copyright © 2018 The Binder Firm - All Rights Reserved.
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