What is Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative law is a growing trend in alternative dispute resolution. The approach entails a structured, out-of-court approach to finalizing a marital union. It allows a divorcing couple to work with family law attorneys in Alpharetta toward a favorable outcome in a results-focused setting.
If you choose to use the collaborative divorce process, you have a better chance at reaching an amicable divorce agreement, having resolved issues such as:
- Parenting schedule
- Spousal support
- Child custody and visitation
- Property division
- Child support
You can finalize these matters without stepping into the courtroom, saving time and money. Collaborative divorce can be less hostile than a traditional divorce.
How Does the Collaborative Divorce Process Work?
Once you decide to end your marriage through the collaborative divorce process, you and your spouse separately hire collaborative divorce lawyers in Alpharetta to represent your interests. You all meet in a neutral place to start the negotiation process. You must sign a participation agreement that requires you to act in good faith to resolve the divorce.
You must also disclose all relevant information, assets, and documents related to the divorce to make the process smooth and uncontested. Collaborative divorce means that neither of you shall go to court. You also can’t use the threat of litigation to get your way during the process. If either of you decides to go to court, your lawyers must withdraw from the case for you to hire different ones.
An Interest-Based Approach to Divorce
The collaborative divorce process starts by identifying your goals and interests. For example, your focus could be to reach a financial agreement that enables you to maintain two similar households for your children. Collaborative divorce attorneys in Alpharetta can work with you and your spouse to help you achieve an outcome that favors both of you.
In contrast, in litigation, spouses often focus more on what the court can give them. Litigation is often more about winning, which is rarely an outcome in family law litigation. Collaborative divorce provides an avenue for a more satisfying resolution to the divorce settlement that you have control of, without the emotionally draining court battle.
What Are the Benefits of a Collaborative Divorce?
One of the outstanding benefits of the collaborative divorce process is that it enables you to participate in a positive and open discussion in resolving the divorce. You and your ex-spouse can hire experts to help you reach an amicable solution in finances, asset valuation, property division, child custody, parenting plans, and mental health issues.
The ultimate goal is to reach an amicable settlement agreement that resolves all the disputes in your divorce. Once the negotiations are over, you enter into a comprehensive written agreement to validate the marriage dissolution while stating the agreements about custody, visitation, support, and property division.
Once you sign the settlement agreement, it is filed with the family court without any of you having to go to court. Alpharetta collaborative divorce attorneys highlight the following as some of the benefits of the process:
- It is a quicker and less expensive dispute resolution method
- The process can be more beneficial if minor children are involved
- The details of the divorce remain confidential
Is Collaborative Divorce the Same as Cooperative Divorce?
A closely similar approach to a collaborative divorce is the cooperative divorce process. As in collaborative divorce, the clients and attorneys in a cooperative divorce process agree to cooperate and share all the relevant information to amicably dissolve the marriage without going to court.
The lawyers don’t conduct written discovery and dispositions. The final agreement and petition are filed with the family court upon completion in both cases. The outstanding difference between the two processes is that the lawyers in a cooperative divorce aren’t required to sign an agreement to withdraw as counsel if the process fails and litigation is required.
It’s advisable to leave your options for cooperative divorce open. While the goal is to avoid litigation, things sometimes don’t go as planned. Due to various dynamics, you may not wish to continue attending meetings with your spouse. Your cooperative divorce attorney can continue representing you to protect your rights and interests even if your case goes to court.
Is Collaborative Divorce Right for Me?
Determining whether the collaborative divorce process suits you requires considering various factors. If your divorce is contested and you don’t see eye to eye with your ex-spouse, the arrangement may not work for you.
It may not be suitable if your marriage was marred with domestic violence. If you’re fearful and cannot speak freely in front of your spouse, you may not be comfortable negotiating. Litigation could be more suitable in this case.
On the other hand, the process could be ideal if you’re both willing to set aside your differences and want to save on the court costs and time. Talk to skilled divorce lawyers in Alpharetta to help you explore your options.
An Experienced Collaborative Divorce Lawyer Helping You Reach an Amicable Divorce Settlement
Divorce can be messy and emotionally draining, and the court process doesn’t always make it easier for the parties involved. A collaborative divorce process can be the avenue to reach an amicable agreement where you both decide how to handle the crucial divorce issues without a judge’s involvement. However, ensure to work with skilled collaborative divorce lawyers in Georgia.
Hecht Family Law has skilled Alpharetta family law lawyers with experience in the collaborative divorce process. Divorce doesn’t have to be complex and nasty. We can collaborate with other experts, such as psychologists and accountants, to help you reach a settlement agreement that favors both parties, especially if children are involved. Call us at (470) 291-5342 to schedule a consultation.