If you are facing a divorce but are not looking forward to the time, expense, and stress it requires, you could benefit from a divorce via collaborative law.
Collaborative law is a method of alternative dispute resolution that is similar to the mediation process. However, instead of a neutral third party helping the couple reach a settlement, the two parties work together to find the right solutions for everyone involved.
What is Collaborative Law?
People tend to think of the law in terms of “good vs. bad,” “win or lose,” and “us against them.” However, collaborative law is all about working together toward a common goal. There’s no battle for judgment; instead, both parties solve the dispute together through reasonable negotiations.
To successfully achieve a collaborative divorce, both parties must willingly proceed in this manner. If a party does not agree to collaboration, they will begin litigation instead.
The Process of Collaborative Divorce
Find the Right Attorney
When a divorcing couple decides to pursue collaborative law, each party must have legal representation. Even though collaborative law bypasses litigation, attorneys will provide legal counsel for each side. They guide their clients through the process and keep everything on track.
Be sure to choose an attorney who is specially trained in and supportive of collaborative law. Their negotiation skills and leadership style will benefit you much better than an attorney with a “we have to win” mindset.
Discuss Your Goals Privately
Even though you are approaching your divorce collaboratively, you should still lay out your goals with your attorney before meeting your spouse. Your attorney needs to know of any significant issues as well as your non-negotiables. This will help the process flow easier once meetings begin.
Attend Four-Way Meetings
You and your attorney will meet with your spouse and their attorney regularly in what are commonly known as “four-way meetings.” Together the four of you will work out every angle of the divorce. It’s likely you will also involve third-party experts like financial specialists and child custody specialists to help you reach an agreed-upon settlement.
Inform the Court
Once collaborative law is complete, you and your spouse must file your divorce and settlement papers. The filing process will be short, simple, and uncontested as you have taken care of everything via collaborative law before filing.