A collaborative divorce is one in which both divorcing parties discuss and cooperate with their lawyers, who are specially trained via a collaborative process, to end their marriage in an amicable, fair, and harmonious manner–without taking anything to court.
The professionals at Alexander & Doyle, your choice practice for family law in Cary, NC, are experienced in collaborative practice, and will work with you to help you conclude your marriage in a civil and reasonable fashion.
The Collaborative Divorce Process
The collaborative divorce process is a fresh approach to divorce in which the attorneys for both parties agree to assist them in resolving conflicts and legal issues by using cooperative strategies rather than the adversarial setting of the courtroom. The goal of the process is to allow the parties to come to a peaceable settlement by which the needs and desires of all parties are met.
The collaborative process works through informal discussions and conferences of four people: the two parties, and their respective attorneys. The process may require more than one conference before a final settlement is reached. Once the final settlement is reached, it will be drafted and take the form of a Separation Agreement or a Consent Order.
The first step of the process involves the parties signing a collaborative law contract which states that they agree to work towards an out-of-court settlement of the case. In an effort to keep costs to a minimum, the parties agree to use joint appraisers, accountants, and other professionals, if necessary. If the parties reach a settlement, the attorneys will draft the documents to memorialize the agreement.
If the parties are not able to reach an agreement, they can either go to court to resolve their differences, or agree to go to binding arbitration. Should the parties go to court, their collaborative law attorneys are required to withdraw, and their clients must find new counsel to represent them in court.
Deciding to go to arbitration usually results from an arbitration clause in the collaborative law contract signed by the parties prior to beginning the collaborative divorce process, and allows the collaborative lawyer to continue to represent his or her client.
In this situation, the arbitrator will attempt to resolve the issues at hand in a manner that is usually less expensive and faster than going to court. An arbitrator typically can meet with the parties sooner than a court date can be scheduled, and often the previous joint appraisals, accountings, etc. can be used for the arbitration.
Benefits of Collaborative Divorce
There are many benefits to the collaborative divorce process. It is usually more cost effective for both parties, and leads to a speedier resolution of disputes. The parties enjoy the amount of control and hands-on involvement they have throughout the entire process. This non-adversarial setting allows the parties to be more comfortable in expressing ideas and feelings, leading to a more satisfactory resolution for everyone involved.
Alternatives to Collaborative Divorce
The collaborative divorce process is not appropriate for all cases. If the collaborative divorce process is not right for you, there are many divorce process alternatives we have in assisting our clients in resolving the various issues they now face. A court hearing may be avoided though mediation, a separation agreement, and arbitration. Please contact us when you are ready to schedule a consultation.
Some relationships are burdened by emotions and hearts too heavy to allow for a negotiation of a settlement. An attorney trained in this area can help you decide whether this process is right for you.
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