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Is Collaborative Divorce the Right Choice for Me?

Posted on in Mediation and Collaborative Law

collaborative divorce, Naperville divorce attorneyAs is the case with any major life change, going through a divorce can be an extremely emotional experience. For some people, the thought of adding the conflict of a typical divorce proceeding into the mix is too much. Is there an option for those who are looking for a more peaceful method of divorce? Fortunately, a recent development in family law, known as collaborative divorce, has proven successful for many couples hoping to split up amicably. If you are hoping to avoid a costly, emotionally draining, and potentially conflicted divorce proceeding, collaborative divorce may be the right choice for you. Here is what you need to know.

What Is Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative divorce is often likened to another more peaceful divorce alternative; mediation. While mediation and collaborative divorce do share similarities, one major difference between the two is that mediation involves impartial mediators, while collaborative divorce involves lawyers to represent both spouses. Rather than face off in a courtroom, collaborative divorce attorneys agree to focus on cooperation between both parties and work towards drafting a divorce agreement both parties can agree to. Instead of litigation and adversarial strategies, collaborative divorce attorneys use techniques to maintain positive negotiations between both parties. All parties involved commit to finding an amicable outcome and agree that no litigation will take place during the collaborative negotiations. Parties agree to predetermined terms, such as:

  • Issues will be settled using non-confrontational strategies such as interest-based negotiations;
  • Both parties will rely on their lawyers to help them amicably reach a settlement;
  • If children are involved, both parties will work towards an agreement in the child’s best interest and will work to limit any emotional damage to the child;
  • Communication between parties will be constructive;
  • Neutral experts may be hired;
  • How the collaborative process can be ended

How Does a Collaborative Divorce Work?

The process involves both parties attending a series of meetings, represented by their attorneys. They will work together towards a mutually agreeable divorce agreement. Both parties are encouraged to maintain an environment of respect, support, and fairness, and will discuss issues using their own words and feelings. Other professional experts may be in attendance at these meetings, depending on what is being discussed. Typically, professionals are brought in to assist with a specific issue. These expert may include divorce coaches, financial specialists, parenting specialists, estate planning attorneys, and appraisers. These specialists will help advise both parties on the areas within their expertise, and help the group reach an amicable agreement.

In some cases, an agreement may not be reached. If both parties are unable to find common ground, they can choose to go through a traditional divorce proceeding. If these scenario occurs, both attorneys representing the parties in the collaborative process will typically withdraw from the case, and both parties are able to hire new attorneys to represent them through the traditional divorce process.

Should I Choose a Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative divorce is an excellent option for couples to consider, however, there are certain scenarios where a collaborative divorce may not be the best choice. Parties who have experienced some form of safety concerns, abuse, or health issues may not be the best suited for a collaborative divorce. Both parties will be asked to work together peacefully, so couples with a history of violence or anger towards each other may not be great candidates. Due to the fact that both parties need to agree to work together, a collaborative divorce can only work if both parties are committed to the divorce and are ready to move on peacefully. If one spouse is not on board with the dissolution, collaborative divorce is likely not the right option.

Collaborative divorce does have many benefits, and couples who can work together amicably should seriously consider it. It can be less costly compared to other options, and if both parties can reach an agreement quickly, the process can be significantly less time consuming. If children are involved, a collaborative divorce can also help protect a child’s best interests, and can spare them any unpleasant court proceedings. Since collaborative divorce helps both parties reach an agreement by working together, collaborative divorce is also a great choice for parents who are soon to be co-parents, and the process can help parents start to rebuild a healthy relationship as co-parents and not adversaries.

Would you like to know more about the collaborative divorce process? The team at the Pesce Law Group, P.C., is trained in a variety of divorce methods including mediation and collaborative law. Call 630-352-2240 to learn more about our services, and to schedule a consultation with an experienced Naperville collaborative divorce attorney today.

Sources:

https://www.isba.org/committees/women/newsletter/2008/01/collaborativedivorce

http://www.collaborativedivorce.net/what-is-collaborative-divorce/

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