In television shows and movies, divorce is often portrayed as a highly-combative legal process involving more accusation and confrontation than actual problem solving. In reality, a successful divorce settlement that both parties can agree to can often be reached without the need for dramatic courtroom litigation – even when the couple disagrees about the terms of their divorce. If you are planning to divorce and you and your spouse do not agree about property distribution, parental responsibilities, or other divorce-related matters, one option that may help you reach an agreement is collaborative divorce.
Finding Creative Solutions to Divorce Disputes
Litigation can be expensive and stressful. Many individuals getting a divorce wish to resolve conflicts without adversarial court proceedings but still want a legal advocate on their side who will look out for their best interests. One way to accomplish this is through collaborative family law. In a collaborative divorce, each spouse and his or her lawyer work together to reach resolutions about family law issues in a professional and cooperative way. The parties and their lawyers will sign a “collaborative agreement” or “participation agreement” that states that all signatories will commit to finding a fair, workable divorce settlement and will abstain from bringing the case to litigation. This agreement may require the spouses and their attorneys to agree to provisions such as:
- The parties agree to settle disputes in a non-adversarial manner through negotiation and constructive dialogue
- The parties agree to fully disclose relevant financial information
- The parties will act in their child’s best interests
In a collaborative divorce, your attorney will protect your rights while simultaneously facilitating productive discussion and negotiation about divorce issues with the other participants. The process may also include collaborating with other professionals such as accountants or child specialists. If an agreement about the disputed divorce issues is reached, the agreement is transcribed into legally enforceable documents which are then filed with the court....