Is Collaborative Divorce Right For You?
Deciding whether to file for divorce is a difficult decision. Oftentimes people are scared of going through the court and having to pay thousands of dollars for costly and contentious litigation that sometimes results in both parties feeling resentful towards each other. Collaborative divorce offers an alternative to the “traditional” divorce whereby parties work together with the guidance of their attorneys and other professionals to mold their own settlement outside of the court. To understand whether collaborative divorce is a good fit for your case, there are a few things you should understand first.
What is Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative divorce is an alternative to traditional litigation through the court. In a “traditional” divorce case, one spouse will file for divorce against the other spouse and their attorneys will be the primary driving force in effectuating a final settlement to divide assets for both parties. In contrast, in a collaborative divorce, divorcing parties will both hire their own attorneys and work with each other through private meetings to come to resolutions between themselves based on their respective needs and interests.
What Are Some Benefits to Collaborative Divorce?
Some key benefits of collaborative divorce include:
- More Control: Parties feel more in control of the timetable, costs, and outcome of their case by controlling what issues are in contention and how much time they spend on them.
- More Privacy: Unlike traditional divorce where parties appear in court and have to expose their issues to the public, collaborative divorce is kept out of court.
- Less Adverse: By agreeing to the collaborative process, spouses agree to engage in mutual respect and openness with each other.
What Are The Steps of Collaborative Divorce?
There are several key steps to the collaborative divorce process:
- Initiating the Process. Both you and your spouse will each hire a collaborative divorce attorney to represent you. Both of these attorneys will have to agree that if the collaborative process does not work, they will be disqualified from the divorce process. This incentivizes attorneys to work towards the success of a collaborative divorce settlement.
- Committing to the Process. Both parties and both attorneys need to sign an agreement committing to the collaborative process. This agreement will outline that both sides will put forth a good faith effort to resolve cases collaboratively that meets both sides’ needs and interests. Through this agreement, both sides also agree to a full and honest disclosure of all of their assets, debts, and any other information relevant to their divorce.
- Building a Team of Professionals. In addition to the attorneys, collaborative divorce often pulls in other collaborative professionals to help with the process. These professionals may include child specialists, mental health professionals, or financial neutrals to help negotiate the final settlement.
- Negotiating a Final Settlement. The parties, their attorneys, and any collaborative professionals will meet in private out-of-court sessions to resolve all pertinent issues from custody to asset and debt division. During these meetings, there will be a set agenda of specific topics for the parties to discuss and both parties will have ample opportunity to discuss potential options and their consequences to the final settlement.
Contact Our Experienced Winter Park Collaborative Divorce Attorneys
Divorce is a complicated and daunting process. It is important to evaluate your options before deciding whether to proceed with a “traditional” or collaborative divorce. The experienced Winter Park attorneys at Cotter & Zelman, P.A. can help you understand what process is best for you. Contact us for a free case review.