Not all divorces need to be long, drawn-out litigious experiences, with both parties fighting it out in court over assets and time with the children. Rather, more and more spouses are turning to collaborative divorce as a way to come to agreements on everything from property division to child custody.
In the most basic of terms, with collaborative divorce, each spouse retains his or her own legal counsel. The attorneys and spouses sit down together to negotiate agreements. Once an agreement is reached, the court approves the terms.
For those considering taking this approach though, there are still many misconceptions. Here are some important points to keep in mind when considering a collaborative divorce:
- In addition to your attorney and your spouses’ legal counsel, the attorneys may also decide to bring other experts into the conversation, such as a therapist or a financial adviser.
- A collaborative approach to divorce puts you in charge. By reaching an agreement together, you and your spouse are empowered to decide what is best for your family. With litigation, you may not always agree with the orders directed by the court. Collaborative divorce gives you more of a say.
- A collaborative divorce can be a great first step in co-parenting, which is becoming more and more popular. This is a benefit to children, as according to one recent study mentioned in Time Magazine, children tend to cope better when they spend time with both of their parents.
- A collaborative approach can help you reach all types of agreements, even the ones that are more sensitive in nature involving family law aspects such as child custody and alimony.
- Collaborative divorce may not be for you and that is OK. If you and your former spouse are unable to come to an agreement, you can always decide to change directions and go with the more traditional path of going to court.
In the end, the most important thing is that you do what makes the most sense for you and your family. An attorney who practices both collaborative law and litigation can help you decide what makes the most sense.
Originally published on Bartholomew & Wasznicky, LLP.