How Can Collaborative Law Be Used to Resolve Disputes in a Divorce?
The process of getting a divorce can often be complex and difficult. The dissolution of a marriage may involve disputes related to property division, child custody, alimony, and many other issues. Traditionally, divorce cases are resolved through litigation in which each party will hire their own attorney to represent them in court.
However, there is an alternative method that has gained popularity in recent years, and it is known as collaborative law. This option offers couples the opportunity to resolve their disputes amicably without litigation in court. During a collaborative divorce, open communication and cooperation between spouses will be encouraged, and they will work to find win-win solutions rather than taking an adversarial approach.
The Collaborative Law Process
In collaborative law, both parties hire separate attorneys who have training and experience in these types of dispute resolution methods. The spouses and their attorneys will sign an agreement stating that they are committed to resolving disputes without using litigation. If collaboration fails, the attorneys may be required to withdraw from the case, and the spouses may need to find other attorneys to represent them during litigation. This encourages all parties to resolve disputes outside of court and reach a settlement that both spouses will be satisfied with.
During the collaborative process, the couple and their respective attorneys will attend joint meetings known as "four-way meetings". During these sessions, the spouses will be able to freely discuss their concerns regarding the divorce settlement and they will work towards finding mutually agreeable solutions.
If necessary, additional professionals may also join these meetings or meet with a couple separately. These professionals may include financial advisors or mental health experts who have experience helping divorcing couples resolve disputes and address the concerns related to the dissolution of their marriage.
Advantages of Collaborative Law
Control over the outcome of a divorce: By choosing collaborative law instead of litigation, couples have more control over decisions made in their divorce. They can work together to find solutions that are fair and will meet the needs of both parties, rather than having a judge make decisions that neither party may be satisfied with.
Avoidance of litigation: Collaborative law allows couples to keep their divorce out of litigation. Litigation can be time-consuming, stressful, and expensive, and collaborative divorce will not only encourage open discussions in a less formal setting, it will often allow a divorce to be completed more quickly and efficiently.
Cooperation: Because collaborative law requires spouses to openly communicate and cooperate throughout the process, it can foster better post-divorce relationships. This is especially important for parents who will continue co-parenting after the divorce.
Privacy: Unlike court proceedings, which are public, collaborative law offers privacy for couples as they negotiate settlement terms behind closed doors.
The Role of Attorneys in a Collaborative Divorce
In collaborative law cases, attorneys play a crucial role in guiding their clients through negotiations while ensuring their best interests are represented. During this process, an attorney can:
Educate clients: A lawyer can explain the collaborative law process to their clients, helping them understand what to expect, going over what issues will be addressed, and explaining the options that may be available for resolving disputes.
Provide legal advice: A divorce attorney can explain how the laws address property division, child custody matters, alimony payments, etc. They can help their client make informed decisions as they negotiate their divorce settlement.
Negotiate settlement terms: Both parties’ lawyers may advocate for their clients' interests during the negotiation process, helping the couple work towards resolving disputes amicably and reaching agreements.
Contact Our DuPage County Collaborative Divorce Lawyers
At Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC, some of our family law attorneys have been trained in collaborative law and are certified to provide the representation you need during this alternative dispute resolution process. To learn more about how we can help you resolve your divorce-related issues, contact our Wheaton collaborative law attorneys at 630-665-7300 and schedule a consultation today.