It’s no secret that going through a divorce can be challenging, contentious, and expensive. Most divorces don’t rise to the degree of drama presented on primetime television, but that doesn’t mean it’s a walk in the park, either. Divorces commonly require attorneys, time, money, and in some cases, a lengthy trial.
collaborative divorce attorneys in Colorado is a relatively new means of resolving issues that folks deal with when ending a marriage. Think of a collaborative divorceas a mixture of divorce mediation and a normal divorce which involves attorneys. Both spouses hire legal representatives who agree to resolve issues using non-adversarial techniques. The goal is to negotiate a win-win solution that best meets the needs of both sides while avoiding litigation. Collaborative legal representatives are focused on managing conflict, not creating conflict.
Courts in every state encourage couples to interact to fix divorce disputes, and when you can agree, you’ll observe that the task is much more comfortable. If you and your spouse can’t agree to all the conditions in your divorce, you might find it helpful to hire a mediator-or, neutral third party-to facilitate a conversation and resolve your disputes.
Some states offer couples divorce alternatives, like a legal separation, but again, you’ll need to be on the same page as your spouse because of this legal process to work. If tensions are high and there’s no possibility for an agreement, you’ll need to check out the traditional divorce process in your state.
What Is Collaborative Divorce?
A collaborative divorce is a legal divorce process which allows couples to negotiate all the conditions of any divorce, with no need for mud-slinging or fighting in court. Couples will use a combo of mediation and negotiation to reach an agreement on the critical conditions of divorce, like property and debt division, infant custody and child support, and spousal support.
How Does Collaborative Divorce Work?
The collaborative divorce process first commences with a conversation between divorcing spouses to ensure that both are prepared to negotiate and communicate in the collaborative process. If either party is unwilling to participate, a collaborative divorce won’t work.
The next step is for each spouse to hire a lawyer. When you choose an attorney, it’s essential that you hire someone experienced in collaborative divorce and willing to use alternative dispute resolution, like mediation, rather than someone who wants to go to court and ask the judge to choose your unresolved issues.
Experienced collaborative divorce attorneys are well-versed in steps to make a win-lose divorce a win-win settlement for both parties. That said, your lawyer should zealously represent only your interests, meaning if you aren’t more comfortable with a term of your divorce, your legal professional will advocate to change it out for your benefit.
Next, meet with your legal professional privately to discuss what you want from the divorce. Your conversation will include how you would like to divide your assets and debt, how you would like to handle custody, visitation, and support for the minor children, and whether either spouse will support the other following the divorce. If either spouse owns a 401k or pension plan, you must also consult with your legal professional your preference in whether you as well as your spouse should split these accounts.
You and your lawyer should also start assembling your collaborative divorce team, including a divorce coach, financial specialist, and child specialist. These specialists will continue to work with both you and your spouse, so they will be joint specialists. You might not exactly need all three types of specialists, but if you have minor children, you will likely have children specialist at a minimum. With the attorneys and specialists in place, you will possess your collaborative divorce team, who’ll work together if you want to help you and your spouse find the best options and reach the best resolutions for your loved ones.
Once you’ve met with your attorney, it is time to discuss with your spouse and your spouse’s legal professional in the first of many four-way meetings. In your initial meeting, both parties (and their attorneys) will typically sign a “no court” agreement, that allows both attorneys to withdraw from your case if either spouse exits the collaborative divorce process to start litigation in court. Additionally, the “no court” agreement holds each party accountable and is also a strong incentive for the spouses to negotiate, even when the conversation gets difficult. In case your legal professional or professional team withdraws from the situation, you’ll need to hire a new team, which is extremely expensive.
At subsequent meetings, each of you will meet with your attorneys and/or professional team to revisit your wants and needs during the divorce process. Each time you and your spouse meet for a four-way meeting, you should be making progress toward the finish goal of the mutual settlement in your divorce.
You must voluntarily provide your spouse with any information necessary to continue negotiations, such as tax returns, employment and salary information, and all the information regarding assets and debts. For example, if you contributed to a 401k during your marriage, it will be your responsibility to provide your spouse’s legal professional with the most up-to-date financial information from the account. There is absolutely no divorce discovery in collaborative divorce, so you have to rely on your partner’s word that he / she has provided you with all relevant information. If you suspect your spouse will endeavour and hide information from you, collaborative divorce may not be right for you.
What Are the Benefits of the Collaborative Approach?
If you’re unsure whether collaboration is the right choice, ask your legal professional that they think it could benefit you and your spouse. This will give you a better concept of how the process works and if it’s right for you.
One of the primary benefits is that it offers you considerably more control over the result of your divorce. It also gives you to voice your concerns and opinions regarding details of the settlement.
In a collaborative setting, you and your spouse make compromises and agree after conditions of the settlement. For a few, this is more desirable than a judge making the ultimate decision.
Another benefit is fewer time constraints. You have significantly more freedom as it pertains to scheduling meetings and working with your spouse. You’re not at the mercy of the court’s schedule.