What is a Collaborative Divorce?
Through collaborative divorce, spouses enter into an acceptable agreement through their attorneys without having to go through an adversarial court trial and costly proceedings. This alternative method of divorce allows the parties and their respective lawyers to enter into a participation agreement to employ cooperative techniques and consequently, to resolve the divorce action. The goal is to resolve all issues without any court intervention. As such, the approach is non-adversarial, similar to negotiation proceedings, and without initiating litigation.
The participation of lawyers is significant in collaborative divorce. Here, the lawyer supports, protects, and guides his or her client in every step of the way. The lawyers also have the duty to manage the conflict in order for the parties to achieve settlement.
Agreement between lawyer and client
An agreement is entered into between the lawyer and the client. The agreement normally contains the following provisions:
• That the issues will be settled using an interest-based negotiation;
• That lawyers will assist the parties in reaching settlement;
• That the best interests of children will be the utmost goal in settlement and because of this, the acts of the parties must always promote such a relationship that will not cause emotional damage to their children;
• That fair and constructive communication will be used during the process. Furthermore, that the errors of one party should not be used by the other to his or her advantage;
• That the parties may hire neutral experts;
• That the process and reasons of ending or withdrawing from the process will be provided;
• That there will be no unilateral changes to be made as regards the assets, insurance coverage, and other related matters without the consent of the other.
Neutral Experts in Collaborative Divorce
The presence of neutral experts is one of the most significant feature of collaborative divorce. The experts are jointly retained by the parties to present to them matters that require their expertise, such as parenting and appraisal of properties. Because the experts are regarded as neutral, they are more likely not to favor one party over the other. They can therefore help the parties to create fair settlement options.
What are the Advantages of Collaborative Divorce?
In collaborative divorce, clients are able to control how the proceedings will go since the timetable is not set by the judge. Thus, if the parties want to speed up the process, they can simple agree on the schedule of their conferences. This is not true if a court is involved in the case.
Collaborative divorce can also be less expensive since everyone is working together to resolve the case. Depositions and unnecessary court hearings can be avoided.
More importantly, the children do not have to be subjected to psychological issues. They do not have to be dragged in court. The parties, through their agreement, also make it a point to make the negotiation proceedings less emotional for their children.
Once an agreement is reached, the parties will put the agreement into writing and the parties and attorneys will sign. The agreement will then be filed with the Court along with an “uncontested” Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. A brief non-adversarial hearing may be required to finalize the case to obtain a Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage.Read More...