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Beth Kraszewski named as Top Best-in-State Woman Wealth Advisor by Forbes

How Does a Collaborative Divorce Work?

It’s common to worry about facing a “messy” divorce.

Nearly all my divorcing clients have a great fear of racking up tons of legal fees to complete the divorce. They also fear the fighting that is so often associated with the divorce process.

Luckily, it may not have to be this way. There are several types of divorces, some of which tend to be less expensive (and, in many cases, less emotionally taxing).

Pursuing a collaborative divorce is one way to potentially reduce costs and stress during your divorce. This process could be a good fit for couples who can freely share all information related to the divorce with each other and can treat each other with respect and courtesy throughout the process.

What is collaborative law?

Collaborative divorce arises from the principle of collaborative law. According to the American Bar Association, collaborative law is a legal approach in which lawyers are retained to help their clients “resolv[e], by agreement, all issues related to the matter in a dispute.” In most cases, this approach is applied to divorce.

Collaborative lawyers act as good-faith negotiators and advocates—not neutrals—on behalf of their clients. They work outside the court system (except when required) to help their clients through the divorce process in a constructive, respectful manner.

How does a collaborative divorce work?

In a collaborative divorce, both spouses hire their own attorneys. Each attorney must be from a different law firm and be specially trained in collaborative law. (This is because collaborative law requires a very different skill set than traditional attorneys, who use a positional bargaining approach.)

At the beginning of the collaborative law process, all parties sign an agreement that states the attorneys and other professionals involved are disqualified from further proceedings (litigation) should an agreement not be reached through the collaborative law approach.

Throughout the divorce, the attorney serves as a supporting advocate to their client. This is unlike a traditional divorce, in which the attorneys take the lead in their clients’ negotiations. In a collaborative divorce, the client will take the lead instead.

There will be a series of meetings, both one-on-one with the attorney and with both spouses and the attorneys. The parties will discuss:

  1. How to divide assets and debts.
  2. Whether one spouse will provide spousal support to the other.
  3. How both spouses will handle child custody, visitation, etc.

Why pursue a collaborative divorce?

The collaborative divorce process may lead to:

  • Less stress
  • Less time to complete than traditional divorce proceedings
  • Lower costs than a traditional divorce
  • More creative and collaborative solutions
    • The couple gets to make the decisions, as opposed to a judge.
  • More cooperation between the spouses
    • This can be especially important for divorcing couples with children.

Consult a professional

Many people find it helpful to engage other professionals in the collaborative divorce process. This might include a divorce coach, child specialist, financial planner, and/or CPA.

For more information and guidance on preparing for your divorce, please reach out to purposefulwealthadvisors@keatinginc.com. We will send you our free Empowered Divorce Planning Guide to help you enter the divorce process with confidence.

Raymond James and its advisors do not provide legal advice. You should consult with the appropriate legal professional in regards to your specific situation.

The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete, it is not a statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision, and it does not constitute a recommendation. Any opinions are those of Purposeful Wealth Advisors and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct.

Every investor’s situation is unique and you should consider your investment goals, risk tolerance and time horizon before making any investment. Prior to making an investment decision, please consult with your financial advisor about your individual situation.