For divorcing couples that are able to cooperate with each other and get along fairly well, an alternative to the normal acrimonious divorces process exists: the collaborative divorce. The main idea behind collaborative divorce is to be able to work out the issues of divorce in a mediation setting, instead of a courtroom setting. If you are interested in learning more about how the collaborative divorce process works, read on.
A team approach
Instead of warring factions, a collaborative divorce involves the formation of a team for a common goal: a peaceful and fair legal parting of ways. This team consists of attorneys for both sides, the divorcing couple, and a number of other experts, if necessary, such as accountants and other financial experts, child and family therapists, and more. It should be noted that the entire idea of two legal teams who normally associate with each other in a far more acrimonious manner working together may seem very radical, but attorneys who agree to participate in the collaborative divorce process have another way of viewing the process and its benefits.
Collaborative divorce, step by step
1. Full disclosure of financial information with documentation provided to show debts, assets, income, etc. Additionally, tax returns, deeds, information about investment accounts, and more should be provided before the process can begin.
2. Meetings of the parties are held regularly and each meeting has an agenda that focuses on a major issue. Issues are discussed one at at time. As each issue is resolved, an agreement begins to take shape.
3. The more contentious issues, like child custody and debt and property divisions, are left for later on in the process to allow for the resolving of more issues earlier.
4. Conflict resolution techniques are employed to help resolve the more contentious issues.
5. Eventually, a signed agreement emerges and is filed with the court to later become a legally binding divorce petition.
The benefits of collaborative divorce
Time: When dealing with the court system, you must abide by the court's calendar. Delays and postponements are commonplace when litigating a divorce. A collaborative divorce usually means a single court appearance.
Financial: Attorney's fees can escalate quickly for court-litigated cases. Often, collaborative divorce keeps those fees down by taking the adversarial relationship between the parties off the table.
Stress: It stands to reason that a process that lessens acrimony and encourages respect and cooperation will result in a more peaceful marriage resolution.
If you and your spouse are interested in learning more about a collaborative divorce, speak with your attorney today or contact a company like Divorce Mediation Institute of Utah to learn more.