Is a Collaborative Divorce Right for You?

March 14, 2017 / 12:13 pm

There’s no “right” way for a divorce to proceed.

Some couples handle things amicably. They have no trouble agreeing on how to divide their property and deciding on child custody. The only thing they need divorce attorneys for is handling paperwork.

Other couples hire divorce attorneys and go to court, battling every step of the way.

But what if you and your spouse fall into the middle? You don’t want to go to court, but there are still issues you need to work out. This is where something called the collaborative divorce comes into play.

What is a collaborative divorce?

Collaborative divorce is a subset of collaborative law, the process of taking a matter – in this case, a divorce – out of the courtroom and settling it through mediation and negotiation. Some judges may even require couples to go this route before litigation begins.

The key word here is collaborative – both parties need to agree to participate for it to work.

What are the benefits?

There are several benefits to taking this route, including:

  • It saves time and money.
  • It allows you to keep control of the process, with the help of your divorce attorneys.
  • It allows the spouses to preserve a relationship.
  • It minimizes the emotional burden on you, your former spouse and your family.
  • It prevents the court from making decisions for you and lets you and your spouse negotiate a settlement that works for you.
  • It allows you both to decide how to handle decisions after the divorce.
  • It allows you to work with other professionals, such as mental health coaches and financial experts who can help resolve issues related to the divorce.

How does the process work?

Collaborative divorce begins with the two parties hiring their own divorce attorneys. You should look for a lawyer with experience in collaborative law cases.

Talk with your attorney, letting them know your goals and your limits, in other words, the least you are willing to accept.

From there, you and your attorney meet with your spouse and their lawyer. These meetings will likely happen on a regular basis and – as we said above – may include other professionals, from child custody experts to accountants.

If you have trouble reaching an agreement, a licensed mediator may be called in. These are professional who know the law and the procedures involved, and can help guide you to an arrangement both parties will find satisfactory.

When you reach an agreement, you can file your divorce papers and settlement agreement with the court. In collaborative divorce situations, this is a simple procedure.

To learn more on the benefits of collaborative divorce, contact Penglase & Benson. Our divorce attorneys in Bucks County are ready to help you make what is often a painful process much less painful.