A collaborative divorce is when both sides work together to come to an agreement without involving the courts. This increases the possibility of arriving at a resolution that is at least somewhat favorable for both sides. It also saves time and money when compared to litigation.
Who is involved in the collaborative divorce process?
Attorneys for Each Side
Each person will have an attorney representing him or her. However, it’s important to hire one who is familiar with the collaborative divorce process. That’s because their roles are different. An attorney in this case provides advice and assistance in negotiating the agreement.
Meetings will take place separately, then with the other party and his/her attorney. Often attorneys sign an agreement that if they can’t arrive at a settlement or it goes to court, they will withdraw from the case. Of course, this means having to hire new attorneys.
Keep in mind that despite reaching an agreement, the family court judge still will need to sign off on it. However, in the end, this is a much more pleasant way of settling matters.
Sometimes a financial planner becomes necessary. This type of professional can help the couple navigate their financial issues. For instance, the courts may order that child support stops when a child turns 18. But both parties may agree that it’s necessary to continue support throughout college.
If there are children involved, a therapist sometimes will help negotiate child custody decisions. This can create a much more cooperative way of arriving at what’s best, rather than fighting it out in court. And children often benefit from the positive effects of parents working together.
A mediator also can help with negotiations, dealing with a variety of situations including child custody, spousal support and division of property. This neutral third party hears both sides and may offer suggestions. However, the mediator can’t legally enforce orders.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a collaborative divorce?
As mentioned, if it doesn’t work out, the couple will be out of money spent on attorneys and will have to spend more to hire new ones. It may not be the best option if there is suspicion that income or assets are hidden or if there are substantial assets or complex financial matters to sort through. Even with the aid of an expert, it could be difficult arriving at an agreement.
Another disadvantage is when one person has difficulty standing up for his/her rights or voicing his/her thoughts on matters. It’s also not a good idea to go this route if there has been a history of domestic abuse — one person may become overbearing in the process.
The advantages are that it avoids the more expensive and drawn-out process of litigation. It’s so much more pleasant working together to come to an agreement. This eliminates unnecessary stress and frustration and is a good sign that any future communications (especially when there are children) will be positive. When a collaborative divorce is successful, both sides win. A collaborative divorce doesn’t mean that you have to agree on everything. Learn more about Dallas mediation services and collaborative divorce lawyers here.