Is Collaborative Divorce the Right Option for You?
Traditional divorces are a contested process during which each party argues their own “side” and attempts to convince the court why they should get such-and-such alimony or take primary custody of their children. Since this process can get ugly, and often does, a second option became available to couples looking to dissolve their marriage: Mediation. In mediation, each party may or may not have their own separate attorney. These divorces are mediated by an objective third party who attempts to come to some resolution that benefits both parties. Mediation has the advantage of private and property and asset distribution is not a matter of public record.
But what about situations where the spouses are having difficulty coming to a consensus but don’t want their divorce to turn into a knock-down drag-out brawl where all their dirty laundry is aired in open court?
What is Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative divorce bridges the gap between mediation and litigation. Both parties agree to come to the table and everyone involved signs a contract to commit to the collaborative process. This means that neither party may threaten litigation at any point. Both parties are expected to honestly report their assets and holdings and otherwise not try to defraud the other during the proceedings. If it is determined that one party is attempting to hide assets or either party uses the threat of litigation as leverage, the collaborative contract would be nullified and the case would go into litigation.
How the Collaborative Process Works
A collaborative divorce is less adversarial than a litigated divorce but more structured than mediation. Each spouse has an attorney who may not then go on to represent the spouse if the collaborative process breaks down. Additionally, there may be financial experts, business appraisers, childcare experts, and more who are called in to resolve the amicable dissolution of the marriage.
Instead of letting a judge decide matters related to child support, alimony, child custody, and property distribution, the couple comes to a resolution that considers the needs of all parties involved. That includes the children. While a judge must still sign off on issues related to child care, a well-drafted divorce decree will prevent them from countermanding the terms of your agreement.
Advantages of Collaborative Divorce
- Privacy – One of the major advantages of a collaborative divorce is that you keep the courts out of it. When the courts are involved, all issues are a matter of public record. This is not the case with collaborative divorce.
- You and your spouse retain control – In litigation, all decisions come down to a ruling from a judge. In a collaborative divorce, you and your spouse steer the ship.
- Time and money – Collaborative divorces are both cheaper and are resolved faster than litigated divorces.
- Less acrimony – The collaborative process was designed to give couples who were having trouble resolving their differences a third option for the amicable dissolution of their marriage.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Divorce Attorney Today
The West Palm Beach divorce attorneys at the office of Bruce S. Rosewater & Associates help couples dissolve their marriages in both litigation and collaborative settings. Talk to us today for more information concerning your options.