Collaborative divorce is a method of dispute resolution during a divorce where both parties agree on terms without going to court. Couples usually reach a common ground on all the important terms of the divorce through mediation and/or negotiation done by them or their divorce lawyers.
Terms are negotiated between both parties without litigation in a collaborative divorce. The process of collaborative divorce can begin with both spouses agreeing to a collaborative divorce. They follow by hiring divorce attorneys. Experienced lawyers in collaborative divorces are preferred who knows alternative methods of dispute resolution that don’t involve a court hearing.
The lawyers initiate the process of negotiation for divorce terms like asset and debt division, child custody, child support, and spousal support. There will be many meetings between you, your attorney, and your spouse and his/her attorney for negotiations.
Pros Of A Collaborative Divorce
Collaborative divorce is less expensive compared to litigation because there is no court time involved. Keep in mind that one of the parts of legal battles that cost the most is the discovery of information. There are more resources used and more money spent.
However, in a collaborative divorce, you and your soon-to-be ex agree to disclose and share all the information for reaching resolutions on critical divorce terms.
Additionally, if you hire the same experts such as financial experts, and split the costs, it will reduce the overall cost of your collaborative divorce.
Collaborative divorce is cost-effective but it’s not the cheapest divorce. You will need to hire these professionals during the process.
Both parties will have to hire separate divorce attorneys specializing in collaborative divorce.
A financial planner can help both parties have a better view of their finances and how they will look post-divorce. With better information and a clear view of the finances, both parties can divide the assets and liabilities more fairly.
Mental Health Professional
They are usually neutral and help any party in overcoming emotional obstacles and similar issues.
A child specialist works with a child in coping with the divorce of their parents.
These professionals help divorcing parents establish parenting plans. The plans translate the wishes of the parents on how they want to raise their children and spend time with them.
Real Estate Broker
Spouses that have a property they want to sell, require a real estate broker in the team as well. The real estate broker will communicate the current property market and the value of the assets both parties have.
Cooperative Rather Than Combative
Collaborative divorce is considered a peaceful divorce because both parties agree to talk about and settle everything on their own with their attorneys and don’t seek the orders of a court to force them to do something.
You will have separate meetings with your family attorney Fairfax VA for advice and suggestions. However, the process moves when you and your lawyer have a meeting with your soon-to-ex and his/her lawyer. It’s often called a four-way meeting.
These four-way meetings are done to negotiate all the terms. Both parties cooperate with each other as these are not court hearings where they have to battle. Nobody gets interrogated and terms are settled in a friendly environment.
Less Likely Post-Divorce Litigation
Many contested divorces and battles between spouses don’t stop when they get divorced. Legal battles continue over changes in support, parenting time, and other issues.
As the court orders your spouse to follow the orders, when they contest, you will have to go to court again for the enforcement of the judgments given by the court.
On the other hand, a collaborative divorce is a voluntary process. There is no pressure of getting a collaborative divorce on couples so when both parties agree to it, the process usually goes smoothly and they are more likely to honor the agreements post-divorce. So, the likelihood of post-divorce litigation decreases with a collaborative divorce.
Quicker Than Traditional Divorce
There is no time wasted on discovery (exchange of information between both parties), court hearings, unnecessarily long battles over child custody and support, temporary orders, and others in a collaborative divorce. Therefore, things move at a faster pace in a collaborative divorce.
According to estimates, collaborative divorces are concluded in half the time taken by litigated divorces.
This allows you to move on from the broken marriage and the stress of divorce more quickly. This can be a huge benefit for your and your children’s mental health.
You can keep all the information private between the parties involved in a collaborative divorce without the fear of everyone knowing about it. However, in a court hearing, all the information shared and things said are public and ruins privacy completely.
So, if you and your spouse want to keep your private life private, a collaborative divorce can help you achieve that. Moreover, many people who have businesses or a public image prefer a collaborative divorce to keep all the information and settlements private.
You Can Create The Timetable Of Your Divorce
In a contested divorce, you will have to show up on any date the court orders a hearing. You can’t control the dates and the pace of your divorce with this.
However, in a collaborative divorce, you have to negotiate without a judge ordering you to meet on a certain date for the process. This gives you control over the timetable of your divorce and you and your spouse set the four-way meetings at the pace they want.
Judges don’t have the time to create custom solutions for every divorce case. They usually take a cookie-cutter approach to concluding divorce cases. However, if you agree to a collaborative divorce, you can settle the terms together with your soon-to-be ex.
If you can still work together and move past your differences for the sake of your and your children’s future, you both can come up with better solutions for asset distribution, child custody, child visitation schedule, and others that are in the best interest of both parties and the children
Cons Of A Collaborative Divorce
Divorce Can Become Expensive If The Collaborative Process Fails
Upon agreeing to a collaborative divorce verbally, both parties have to sign a contract that binds both of you to work together during the process. If the collaboration fails and both parties don’t reach an agreement, you and your spouse can’t retain the attorneys you hired for collaborative divorce.
Therefore, you will need to hire a new attorney and legal team for a litigated divorce. This process can become even more expensive than divorces that begin with litigation.
One Spouse Might Over Compromise
In some cases, one party unnecessarily compromises financially and lets the other party take more for keeping the divorce collaborative. Even if assets are split evenly, it can be a compromise for one party given their goals and contribution.
A collaborative divorce is more peaceful, private, and cost-effective than a contested divorce. But if the collaborative process fails after the signing of the collaborative negotiation contract, you will need to start over which will cost more money. Both spouses must be willing to agree for the success of the process, however, the role of an attorney matters too. Hire an uncontested divorce attorney Fairfax VA to ensure the success of your collaborative divorce process.