When many people think of divorce, they picture an angry, emotional couple fighting over assets and arguing about where their kids should live. However, many couples do not fit this mold. While they may not be able to agree on everything, they are generally able to get along and are willing to work together to avoid a lengthy, tumultuous court battle.
For couples willing to negotiate, collaborative divorce is often a better option than traditional divorce. Generally, the process starts with each spouse hiring their own attorney to represent their interests throughout the divorce process. Each spouse should meet with their attorney before negotiations begin to discuss their individual goals and priorities. The attorney should be aware of the minimum the spouse is willing to accept as well as what they would ideally want.
Once these individual meetings have concluded, both spouses and their respective attorneys will meet to begin the negotiation process. Neutral financial and child custody experts may also be brought in to help the spouses reach an agreement outside of court. In some cases, a mediator may also prove beneficial to the process by assisting the parties in talking out any unresolved issues.
Once the parties have reached an understanding, the spouses and their attorneys will sign a “no court agreement” requiring the attorneys to withdraw from the case if it goes to court. The parties will then file their divorce and settlement agreement with the court to make everything official.
Collaborative divorce isn’t for everyone, but couples that would prefer to work toward an agreement outside of the courtroom may find the process to be much more cost effective and less stressful than a traditional divorce.