There are many different ways to file for divorce. From fighting over every candlestick and minute of parenting time to agreeing to all the terms and conditions without a contested legal battle, couples actively choose how much time and effort they want to put into their divorce. Often times, couples approach their divorces with different sets of expectations, which is why it may become a source of hostility and contention. If couples are generally of the same mindset and want to resolve their divorce without protracted litigation, a collaborative law divorce is always a great option.
How Collaborative Law Is Different
In collaborative law divorces, couples work with their attorneys to resolve issues together. This team approach includes not only attorneys and spouses, but also other professionals relevant to the divorce process. A neutral child specialist may be used in cases involving children. A neutral divorce financial planner may also be brought in to assist both parties in making relevant financial decisions that best meet the needs of the family.
Best Situations for Collaborative Law Divorces
For a collaborative divorce to be successful, there are certain “must have” elements that need to be in place:
- Both parties must agree to try a collaborative law divorce. If one party objects, the process will not go forward as a collaborative law divorce. It is important to note that both parties can try collaborative law and, if the process doesn’t work, return to traditional litigation later in the process.
- Both parties must agree to provide complete disclosures of their finances.
- Collaborative law takes a commitment to stay out of court. If one party eventually decides to end the collaborative law process, both parties must find new attorneys to represent them in litigation.
- Participants in collaborative law divorces must be committed to collaborating to resolve issues. People that view resolving the issues surrounding divorce as one person “winning” and the other person “losing” will not do well with the collaborative law process.
- Information about important issues like parenting, a child’s best interests, and financial matters must be represented by a neutral third party, not an advocate for one side or the other. While objectively this may seem like a great idea, both parties may need to remind themselves of this if they hear something from the professional that is inconsistent with what they had hoped would happen.
- Parties participating in collaborative law divorce must also retain attorneys specially trained in the collaborative law divorce process. Not every attorney is qualified to participate in collaborative law divorces.
Collaborative law can reduce the cost of divorce, both financially and emotionally, since they generally take less time to resolve. This is due, in part, to the fact neither party is bound by the busy schedule of the court.
Considering a Divorce?
If you are considering a divorce, contact Eric C. Cheshire, P.A. today. We have nearly 30 years of experience representing people in family law cases, including collaborative divorces. We can be reached directly at (561) 655-8844.