How Does It Differ from Other Forms of Divorce? How Do You Know If It’s Right for You?
Your marriage has ended and the only way forward is through a divorce. But you’re tired of all the rancor, or you may still have a good relationship with your spouse, but simply find yourselves going in different directions. Your divorce proceeding doesn’t have to be acrimonious. There’s a relatively recent development in family law, known as the collaborative divorce process, that can help you work through all your differences more amicably, without the time and expense of taking all your issues to court.
What Is the Collaborative Divorce Process?
The collaborative divorce process is an alternative to the traditional method of dissolving a marriage, where the parties and their attorneys seek to work together to find mutually beneficial resolutions to custody, visitation, support and property issues. To use the collaborative process, both parties to the divorce must agree to participate.
In the collaborative process, as in a traditional divorce proceeding, each party retains legal counsel. It’s critical that you hire a lawyer who understands and, ideally, has used the collaborative process successfully in the past. Attorneys are duly bound by a code of ethics to represent clients “zealously within the bounds of the law.” In the collaborative process, your attorney will need to strongly consider ways that you can work cooperatively with your spouse to settle your differences. If an attorney doesn’t have experience with the collaborative process, he or she may focus solely on your needs and the process will have less chance of success.
How Does the Collaborative Process Work?
The fundamental difference between the traditional divorce process and the collaborative divorce process is that the parties typically sign a “no court” agreement, promising to use best efforts to resolve all differences without appealing to or taking claims to the court. That doesn’t mean the parties are prohibited from asking the court to resolve a dispute, if the parties cannot find a solution. However, if either party withdraws from the collaborative process to engage in litigation or obtain a court order/ruling, the attorneys for each party must recuse themselves (withdraw from the case), and the parties must retain new legal counsel.
As a general rule, throughout the collaborative process, most meetings will include both parties and their lawyers. It’s also fairly common, in the collaborative process, for the parties to put together a “collaborative divorce team,” a collection of specialists who can help resolve the common issues in a divorce. That will often include a child welfare specialist, as well as a financial planner or similar specialist. These specialists will work with both parties, offering suggestions and options to help both parties meet their goals.
Contact the Experienced Divorce and Family Law Attorneys at Bailey & Galyen
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we understand the difficulties you face when your marriage cannot be saved. We offer a free initial consultation to every client. To speak with a proven and effective divorce and family law attorney, contact us by e-mail or 844-402-2992 call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.