Chances are you've heard a story or two about how ugly and messy the divorce process can be. A long, drawn-out litigation process can leave both sides feeling bitter and resentful. And the long-term effects and damages can extend far beyond financial status and depth.
Collaborative law has quickly been gaining popularity with divorcing couples who wish to work together rather than against each other. Collaborative family law is a great choice for couples who want to avoid court and the adversarial approach.
Collaborative attorneys work together to create an agreement that works in everyone's best interest. This process helps to minimize the emotional, economic, and financial consequences of divorce. A collaborative divorce is often times less stressful, quicker, and much less expensive than traditional divorce.
What You Can Expect from Your Collaborative Attorney
Attorneys who practice collaborative law help their clients focus on problem-solving and planning for a positive relationship in the future. If you want to maintain control over how you want to divorce and seek a positive experience handled with integrity and respect, collaborative law may be the right choice for you.
A collaborative divorce offers a way for couples to settle differences in a healthier manner in a neutral environment. As you begin your journey through divorce, it's important to know what to expect. Here are some examples of what you can expect from your collaborative divorce lawyer.
Both sides and their attorneys will begin by signing a "no-court" agreement. This means that both attorneys are required to withdraw from the case in certain situations. While these requirements may vary from state to state, they typically include:
- Withdrawal if case moves to litigation proceedings
- Withdrawal if client has been less than honest at any time during proceedings
Be sure to speak with your attorney to fully understand your contractual agreement before signing any documents.
Access to a Team of Experts
When you choose a collaborative divorce, you can take advantage of the access you now have to a team of experts in various fields. These experts can include:
- Joint accountants
- Property and asset appraisers
- Financial specialists
- Financial specialists
- Mental health consultants
- Child care specialists
- Child custody evaluators
- Mediation specialists
- And more
Collaborative attorneys have the necessary training to provide conflict management for couples struggling to effectively communicate. Your team of experts can help provide guidance through negotiations and offer advice to help you reach the most beneficial agreement possible.
Effective, Honest Communication
At the beginning of the collaborative divorce process, both sides and their attorneys will make standard agreements that can be found in most collaborative divorce contracts. Both sides agree to set aside differences and work to find a solution that benefits everyone.
Couples are bound to honest and complete disclosure about assets, accounts, and debtors. If either side violates this agreement, the collaborative process will come to a halt. Collaborative law also requires the representing collaborative attorney to withdraw immediately.
In the event of reaching an impasse during the collaborative process, the negotiations will stop. Both parties will need to regroup and begin the process to divorce with a court process. Both sides will also need to hire new attorneys for the litigation process.
You can also expect your collaborative divorce to be more discreet. All information shared with your collaborative law team is confidential. Any disclosures or admissions made during a collaborative divorce cannot be used against one another in any future court proceedings.
By avoiding litigation in court, you'll also avoid the potential for public records about your divorce. This allows you to keep your amicable divorce and its details out of the public eye.
Is Collaborative Law Right for You?
The success of a collaborative divorce process rests on the ability to completely trust each other. Collaborative law is a great alternative for couples who want to end their marriage in a respectful and peaceful manner.
Collaborative divorce allows couples to:
- Find a respectful and creative separation process tailored to your specific needs
- Maintain control of the decisions that can have an effect on your lives during and after divorce
- Protect children from emotional and psychological damages that a nasty divorce can cause
- Use integrity and personal responsibility to manage conflict and find effective solutions
It's important to understand that the collaborative process isn't right for everyone. Here are some situations when collaborative law may not be right for you:
- Unable to locate spouse
- Unable to discuss issues face to face in a respectful manner
- Cases involving allegations domestic violence
- Cases involving allegations of child or spousal abuse
Common Collaborative Law Misconceptions
When it comes to collaborative law, there are a few common misconceptions. When facing such a highly emotional time, it can be easy to become overwhelmed. Here's what you should know about common misconceptions in collaborative law.
Collaborative law will replace the traditional process of litigation.
This is not true. Collaborative divorce serves as an alternative choice for couples considering their options. This allows couples to work together to resolve issues as opposed to adversarial court proceedings.
Couples need to be in agreement and on the same page to participate in the collaborative process
Couples who are facing divorce are often dealing with a number of intense emotions including anger, resentment, and disagreements are common. Collaborative divorce offers access to an entire team of highly-trained professionals who can help you navigate this complex situation.
Their focus is to help you find creative, workable solutions in a respectful and healthy way. While you may not see eye-to-eye, or be in complete agreement, this process provides resources to help you get there.
Child custody and visitation agreements can only be made with a traditional divorce.
Collaborative law is a great option for couples with children. It's important for couples to create a co-parenting plan that works in the best interests of the children. Your team of collaborative experts will work to create solutions that are tailored specifically to the needs of your family as a whole.
We have a large number of assets and can only use the discovery process of a traditional divorce.
It's true that collaborative law does not offer a formal discovery process. However, asset records must be fully disclosed with sworn inventories. A third-party, neutral financial specialist from your collaborative team will review, research, and investigate the information. This ensures that both parties are being completely truthful and forthcoming regarding assets, debts, and other holdings.
Collaborative proceedings offer no protection
Collaborative law is designed to protect the interests of both spouses and any children. Collaborative divorce employs an interest-based approach, allowing both sides to create and establish options that best suits everyone's needs in a workable manner. This offers far more protection in terms of a successful separation process, as well as, healthy relationships after divorce.
And, because this process is voluntary, participants are even more likely to adhere to your co-created contractual agreement. This provides even more protection to the continued success of a post-marriage relationship including co-parenting plans.
Reasons to Consider a Collaborative Divorce
It's important for you to take a moment to consider how you want to divorce. Disassembling a marriage isn't easy. The two of you worked as a team building the marriage, so why not work as a team to disassemble it as well?
Collaborative divorce can offer the both of you a number of benefits that can help you during, and after your divorce. Here are 7 benefits you and your soon-to-be ex can expect from the collaborative divorce process.
- Less Costly – Collaborative divorce is less costly when compared to traditional divorce options. Litigation can be expensive, and time-consuming with little control over how things are handled or how long the process may take. By working together to find creative solutions, you can cut the cost of your divorce by as much as half when compared to traditional approaches.
- Less Damaging – Children are all too often caught in the middle of nasty, messy divorces. The collaborative process allows you to work with an experienced team who can guide you through this difficult and potentially traumatic time. With specialty training, professionals can help you better understand and manage this delicate process. Specialists can help both sides handle divorce with integrity and respect in an open, honest, and informal setting. This process offers protection for children from an otherwise emotionally damaging experience.
- Financial Incentives – It will be necessary to hire new attorneys and begin the separation process again if your collaborative efforts fail. This gives extra motivation to work hard to achieve success with a collaborative process. Additionally, both attorneys are also motivated as they are out of a job should the process not work.
- Problem-Solving Based Focus – Collaborative law avoids the adversarial environment of more traditional methods of divorce. By working as a cohesive team, experts help maintain focus on problem-solving and future plans.
- Custom Agreements – Couples who choose a collaborative approach value the importance of a workable solution that works for everyone. Rather than rely on a judge to make decisions for you and your family, you can control and create a custom agreement that works for you.
- Increased Success Rate – Couples who choose collaborative divorce share the vision for an amicable dissolution to the marriage. This process provides a step-by-step process to help achieve those goals in a respectful environment.
You Set the Pace of Progress – Divorcing spouses can proceed with the collaborative process without having to wait for availability in court schedules. Couples are able to schedule meetings when it's convenient for them.
- You Set the Pace of Progress – Divorcing spouses can proceed with the collaborative process without having to wait for availability in court schedules. Couples are able to schedule meetings when it's convenient for them.
- Less Stressful – By avoiding family law litigation, divorcing couples and children can skip the added stress of such a formal and imposing setting. Collaborative law helps to create and maintain a neutral environment that encourages healthy family relationships that will continue after the divorce.
- Multi-faceted Approach – Collaborative law encompasses more than just marital dissolution. Collaborative attorneys can help find resolutions and create a plan for a variety of issues. These issues can include alimony, child support, child custody, post-divorce conflict resolution plans and more.
Things to Consider with Collaborative Divorce
When considering a collaborative approach to your divorce, it's important to consider the challenges that may come with this process. Honesty is a must when it comes to the collaborative process. If you truly believe your spouse simply can't be trusted to fully disclose information, facts, assets, debts, and other pertinent information—collaborative law may not be right for you.
Collaborative law attorneys also advise considering alternative divorce proceedings in situations where there is a pattern or history of family and domestic violence. The collaborative process cannot provide remedies available to the court system with things such as protective orders.
Additionally, if you are seeking punitive actions, like contempt for non-compliance to a previous court-issued order, collaborative law may not be your best option.
You could also be facing extensively higher expenses of hiring a new team of attorneys and experts should the collaborative process break down. This means you will not only be responsible for the costs of hiring a new team, court costs, replacement expert retaining fees, and more to begin the litigation process.
Collaborative Law Attorneys
Divorce is a complex legal process. It's important to choose an attorney that can navigate this emotionally-charged and delicate process. San Diego Divorce Attorney understand what a difficult time this is for you and your family. That's why we remain committed to providing experienced, comprehensive collaborative law services to help you maintain confidentiality, integrity, and dignity during your divorce.
Our professional and highly-trained team are here and happy to help you navigate the complex and stressful process of divorce. Our goal is to provide you and your family a peaceful, neutral environment where all parties can speak freely and be heard as we work together to find a reasonable solution that works for everyone involved.
If you have questions or are considering collaborative divorce, be sure to contact our team of professional collaborative law attorneys today! You can use our convenient online form or contact us by phone at 858-529-5150.