Nearly all my divorcing clients have a great fear of racking up a bunch of legal fees to complete the divorce. They also fear the fighting that is so often associated with the divorce process. There are a few types of divorces that tend to be less expensive and often less emotionally taxing. A collaborative divorce is a way to reduce costs and stresses during your divorce.
This process can 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.
The collaborative law process begins with each spouse hiring their own attorney – each attorney needs to be from a different law firm. These attorneys must be specially trained in the collaborative law approach because they use a very different skill set compared to 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 should an agreement not be reached through the collaborative law approach.
During the process, the attorney serves as support to their divorcing client. This is unlike a traditional divorce where the attorney’s take the lead in their client’s negotiation. In a collaborative divorce, the client will take the lead in their negotiations.
There will be a series of meetings both one-on-one with the attorney and meetings with both spouses and the attorneys. They will discuss:
- How to divide assets and debts.
- Whether one spouse will provide spousal support to another spouse.
- How you and your spouse will handle child custody, visitation, etc.
The collaborative divorce process has several advantages:
- It tends to be less stressful.
- It tends to take less time to complete the process.
- It tends to cost less than a traditional divorce.
- The couple gets to make the decisions as opposed to a judge. This can allow for more creative solutions.
- The process fosters cooperation between the spouses which can get a good foundation for a future relationship which can be especially important if you have small children.
Many people find it helpful to engage other professionals to be part of the 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you our free Empowered Divorce Planning Guide.
Raymond James and its advisors do not provide legal advice. You should consult with the appropriate legal professional in regards to you specific situation.