Divorcing your spouse is one of the hardest decisions you can make, and often, it’s just the beginning of a lengthy, expensive legal battle that makes a difficult situation more painful for everyone in the family. Even if both parties don’t expect their divorce to be difficult, it often becomes that way once litigation begins. Spousal support, child custody, and property division all become battles to “win,” and both parties try and paint the other as a villain in order to get more in the settlement.
There is a better way for couples who want to end their marriage peacefully and amicably, even if there are issues of custody, support, and property division to work out. For couples who want to work together to settle the terms between themselves and avoid going to court, there is “collaborative divorce,” and a Triangle collaborative divorce attorney can work with you to settle your divorce in a way where both parties win and no one loses.
A collaborative divorce lawyer plays a much different role during proceedings. When both spouses choose collaboration, they each hire their own legal representation. All parties agree in writing that if a settlement can’t be achieved through collaboration, they will release their existing counsel, and hire new lawyers to represent them in litigation.
The next step is that both parties will meet with their legal counsel and set goals and expectations before setting up a meeting with one another and their lawyers. Once the couple meets, the attorneys act as mediators, ensuring the proceedings move forward in a productive, civil manner, while still offering counsel and advice to their client.
Often, a collaborative family law attorney will schedule an unbiased expert to meet with the couple. This person won’t act as a witness, helping one party over the other, but instead will assist the couple with advice and opinions that is beneficial to both parties. Common experts to help in collaboration include:
Settling divorce through mediation and working with a collaborative divorce attorney is a fairly new option, but it’s one that is becoming popular quickly. The main reason is that couples want to divorce with dignity and not see the other party get hurt or drag them through the mud. This is especially true for couples with children as an acrimonious divorce battle can have long-lasting consequences on children.
Another benefit is the ability to create unique terms to the divorce that are ideal for both parties, rather than terms that leave both parties unsatisfied. For example, a judge may award full custody to one parent with weekend visitation whereas a couple may create a split custody agreement that includes time with grandparents and works around school and extracurricular activities.
A divorce solved through collaboration is also significantly less expensive than litigation. Because the timeline is determined by the couple rather than by court dates, working with a collaborative divorce law firm is quicker and less expensive than a traditional divorce.
Only a few lawyers in the Triangle are dedicated to effective representation in collaborative divorce.
Before you choose a law firm, it’s important to know if it’s right for you and your spouse. You have to both be willing to compromise and work together to create a settlement. If one or both of you is unwilling to compromise or you both are prone to arguing rather than talking, your situation may be better solved by a judge.
If you would like to learn more about collaboration in divorce and determine if it’s the best step for you, use the Find an Attorney Near You search box below to find a member attorney who practices in your area to set up a consultation.