If you have decided to end your marriage, you are undoubtedly going through a rough time, and the idea of proceeding through the divorce process probably fills you with a sense of dread to say the least. But duking it out in court with your soon-to-be-ex is not the only option available to you. Collaborative divorce may be a good option in some cases, and here are some frequently asked questions about it:
What is Collaborative Divorce?
This is a process where each party retains the services of a specially trained attorney who helps them reach an agreement outside the court that takes into account the needs and interests of the whole family. There is a promise to resolve each matter privately and confidentially, without threatening court action. There is a vow to work together in good faith and with full transparency to find solutions that are mutually acceptable to all. To get the most information about collaborative divorce, you should meet with an attorney who specializes in it to get a true sense if this is the best course for you and your spouse.
How Is It Difference than the Traditional Divorce Process?
There are many differences. The key difference is the ‘regular’ process tends to intensify the conflict and ‘bad’ blood between the couple. The conflict wrought can put quite the financial and emotional toll, and this is especially true the longer it takes. Collaborative divorce is a process that encourages working through problems and coming to agreements that are beneficial for both parties.
How is It Different than Mediation?
Mediation involves a neutral third party facilitating communication between the couple to see if they can settle their issues out-of-court. Mediators are not allowed to give legal advice nor can they advocate for either party. If lawyers are involved, they may not have made a pledge to avoid court action so there may not be as much of an effort to solve things in this neutral space, rather than by going to court.
What are the Roles of the Attorneys in the Collaborative Divorce Process?
Collaborative attorneys are there to help you reach mutually beneficial solutions without going through the courts. There is a pledge made, and if the couple decides to give up on the process, the current lawyers are not able to represent them in court .They want to make this as cooperative a process as possible and aren’t looking to exploit weaknesses, mistakes and the like to gain advantage over the other side. There is an agreement to a voluntary, free exchange of information, and they are coming at this from a place of problem-solving and expect the same of their clients.
What Information is Shared?
Transparency is the name of the game in the collaborative divorce process and both parties must agree to share all relevant documentation and information. There is no hiding, lying, manipulating information or stonewalling.