It doesn’t matter if you are the spouse who makes the decision to file for divorce or the spouse who is on the receiving end of the divorce papers, you will more than likely find yourself experiencing a wide range of emotions from relief, happiness and hope to sadness, anger and anxiety in the immediate aftermath of these definitive actions.
However, once things begin to settle down, you may come to the realization that while you aren’t going to be able to resolve things with your soon-to-be ex via an uncontested divorce, you also don’t want to start a prolonged and potentially costly courtroom battle. You may even find that your soon-to-be ex shares this same view.
Fortunately, divorcing spouses who find themselves occupying this middle ground — unable to reach agreements on their own, but open to talking outside of court — do have viable options, including Collaborative law.
In general, the Collaborative law process involves the two spouses and their respective attorneys coming together at a neutral location for a series of meetings in which they will attempt to reach mutually acceptable solutions concerning such important issues as spousal support, child custody, child support and property division.
As implied by the name, the whole point of the Collaborative law process is for the divorcing couple to be open to all possibilities and honest about disclosing all information. Indeed, they must often sign a written agreement promising as much before the negotiations can commence.
It’s important to note, however, that the divorcing spouses aren’t the only ones who must sign an agreement. Indeed, the attorneys retained by each side must sign a contract promising that in the event their client opts out of the Collaborative law process and pursues traditional litigation, they must withdraw from the case.
These contractual requirements, say experts, help gives all parties incentive to stay at the negotiating table.
We’ll continue to explore the Collaborative divorce process in future posts. In the meantime, please consider consulting with an experienced legal professional to learn more about all of your options as they relate to the dissolution of marriage.