When you decide to end your marriage, you may want to work with a collaborative divorce attorney. Divorce does not have to be difficult, lengthy, or antagonistic. Many people look into the collaborative divorce process to see if it’s an option for them.
What Is Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative divorce is an alternative to traditional divorce. Instead of asking a court to decide how to divide up your assets and how much spousal support you will pay or receive, you can collaborate to make these decisions. You and your spouse will each need to retain a lawyer trained in collaborative divorce. After hiring an attorney, you will exchange information and documents. These exchanges of information can help you clarify your wishes for the divorce.
You and your attorneys will meet together or have conference calls to discuss various divorce-related issues. These meetings are very important for a collaborative divorce because they allow spouses and their experienced collaborative divorce attorneys to communicate about how best to resolve outstanding questions in handling the divorce. For example, the parties to a collaborative divorce might meet to talk about whether they will sell the house and who keeps each of your cars. Your collaborative divorce attorney can provide much-needed perspective during these meetings about the legal and practical aspects of property distribution and other issues.
Is Collaborative Divorce Better than Traditional Divorce?
Collaborative divorce is an alternative method to resolve separation and divorce issues. Depending on your situation, one or the other is not necessarily better. It all depends on what works best for you and your spouse. Some separating couples are not in the right frame of mind to calmly collaborate and may need a mediator or court’s instructions. Meanwhile, other couples may be ready to work together on an amicable divorce settlement. You (with your attorneys’ advice) are the only ones who know if collaborative divorce is for you.
To have a successful collaborative divorce, you and your spouse must be willing to negotiate and compromise. You (with your attorneys to guide you) make the ultimate decisions about how you want to distribute property and separate your lives. In contrast, in a traditional divorce, the parties and their attorneys work to negotiate the terms of a separation agreement and/or the court follows the law to make decisions about dividing your property and awarding spousal support. The court’s decisions are based on many different factors listed in the law. Personally, you may weigh various factors differently than a judge would. Your values and needs may differ from the legal deciding precedent. Your ex-spouse may feel the same and be willing to talk through the issues with you so that you may reach a cooperative decision. If this sounds familiar, you may be a good candidate for collaborative divorce.
How Do You Work with a Collaborative Divorce Attorney?
To work with a collaborative divorce attorney, you must find your own trained collaborative divorce lawyer (separate from your spouse). It is a conflict of interest for one lawyer to represent both spouses in a collaborative divorce. Fortunately, there are collaborative divorce lawyers in your area who will be able to answer your questions.
Once you have a lawyer, he or she will help you set up the collaborative divorce process with your spouse and his or her lawyer. You can expect to sign an agreement stating that you want to engage in collaborative divorce. It is important to understand that all communications during the collaborative process will remain confidential, even if you later end up taking the traditional divorce route. This means that should an agreement not be reached during the collaborative divorce process, your collaborative divorce attorney cannot represent you in court proceedings. If you reach these consensuses with your spouse, you will begin exchanging information and set up meetings to discuss terms for your formal agreement.
The collaborative divorce process is what you make of it. If you go in with defined goals and keep an open mind about the process, you should have a better experience than the stereotypical acrimonious divorce you may have seen in TV shows and movies. Talk to your lawyer about what you can expect when you begin a collaborative divorce.
Let New Direction Family Law Assist You
If you would like more information about collaborative divorce, the team at New Direction Family Law is available today to answer your questions. Our attorneys are knowledgeable, effective, and compassionate professionals practicing in North Carolina. With decades of combined legal experience, we will help you understand your legal rights. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at (919) 646-6561 or via our convenient website.