When you think of divorce, what comes to mind? Many people imagine an angry couple fighting over property and parental rights. While some divorces may be contentious in nature, most are not.
Divorce does not have to be a war, and it is often in your best interests and the best interests of your children to find a more amicable approach: collaborative divorce.
How does it work?
First, you and your spouse should hire your own attorneys. Having legal counsel is important for ensuring you make decisions that are in your best interests.
Next, you and your attorney with meet with your spouse and their attorney to begin negotiating your divorce. The goal of collaborative divorce is to settle outside of court by reaching an agreement on every aspect of your split.
Depending on how much work it takes to reach a final agreement, you may meet several times. Sometimes, third parties are brought in to aid in the discussion. Mediators, child custody experts, accountants or others may be asked to join to help you reach a compromise that works for everyone.
Once you have reached an agreement, a judge will need to approve it. Then you can move on with your life.
What are the benefits?
There are numerous benefits to taking a collaborative approach to divorce. First, it will save you money. By staying out of court, you won't have to pay any court fees. Your attorney fees may also be lower.
Second, it will save you time. When your divorce is collaborative, you set the timeline, including when you meet. When your divorce goes to court, you have to work on the court's schedule, which is not always fast-paced. Your court appointments could be scheduled for weeks or months from when you request them. In that time, you could be working toward finalizing a collaborative divorce.
Third, you get to determine the outcome. Of course it will take compromise, but you and your spouse have the final say on the terms of your divorce. You know your situation and what will work for you better than anyone else. When you leave the decision up to a judge who doesn't know you, you may end up with a final order that neither of you are happy with.