Whenever the court is involved in family issues, your divorce will become a battleground. The resulting conflict can have far-reaching consequences for you and your children. While the financial cost can be high, the emotional and psychological cost can be equally devastating.
The Collaborative Process
One way to diffuse the conflict is to engage in a collaborative approach. Collaborative divorce offers a respectful process focused on reaching agreement, not battling an adversary. When a couple decides to enter into a collaborative divorce, each party hires their own personal lawyer with training in collaborative law. Both parties must sign a collaborative retainer agreement with their lawyer. A collaborative retainer agreement is different from a traditional retainer agreement in that it states that, if the divorce needs to be litigated, the lawyer’s representation will terminate. If the party wishes to continue to be represented by the lawyer during the litigation, they must abandon the collaborative process and sign a separate retainer agreement.
Once the parties have retained counsel, they meet privately with each other, their lawyers, and any neutral professionals they’ve hired. These professionals may include appraisers, financial professionals and therapists concentrating in child psychology. These meetings are intended to produce a settlement through an honest exchange of information and clear understanding about needs and expectations, especially concerning the well-being of children.
If the parties are able to reach an agreement on all relevant issues in the divorce, a settlement agreement is written and submitted to the court for approval.
Why Use a Collaborative Approach?
To Protect the Children
Children are the innocent victims of separation and divorce. Our family law attorneys in Garden City understand the stress, conflict and uncertainty that are present can be major risk factors for childhood development. Yet, as much as parents say they want what is best for their children, they often have difficulty working together for the sake of their children. With the cooperative atmosphere of a collaborative divorce, more attention can be given to the needs of your children.
To Keep the Divorce Private
An adversarial divorce litigation involves a public trial where each party’s personal and financial secrets are revealed and recorded into public record. A collaborative divorce takes place in a controlled environment with only the parties and their attorneys. If a couple would like to keep the process as quiet and painless as possible, collaborative divorce is the way to go.
To Expedite the Process
While the length of a divorce often depends on the complexity of each individual situation, getting a court involved will likely increase that length. The litigation process involves many formalities and procedures on top of a series of court appearances that do little to solve the parties’ problems. In contrast, the full disclosure and open communication inherent in a collaborative process assures that the issues are covered in a timely manner.
Conclusion While some situations may be too contentious for a collaborative approach to divorce, many people prefer its cooperative and discreet nature.