Divorce is never a walk in the park. However, it does not have to be the dramatic legal battle depicted in television and movies either. Alternative resolution methods offer couples the option of ending the marriage amicably, without the need for traditional litigation. If your divorce case is complex, but you and your spouse want to end your marriage cooperatively, collaborative divorce may be your best option.
The Basics of Divorce Using Collaborative Law
Collaborative divorce is a process through which a divorcing couple works together to resolve divorce issues, including property and debt division, child custody, and spousal maintenance. The spouses do not work against each other, but instead, negotiate divorce issues to reach mutually-agreeable solutions. Each spouse is represented by an attorney who provides legal guidance and advocates on behalf of his or her client during the collaborative process.
A key aspect of the collaborative divorce process is the collaborative team. The spouses and their attorneys may work with one or more professionals who provide additional insight into the advantages and disadvantages of various solutions. For example, if the couple owned multiple rental or vacation properties, they may work with a real estate appraiser who can accurately value the properties and help the couple decide the best way to account for the properties during asset division. If the couple shares a child, they may ask a child specialist to join their collaborative team. The child specialist can help the parents understand the ways various child custody arrangements may affect the child’s wellbeing and assist with developing a strong parenting plan. Couples with complex financial portfolios may work with a financial advisor or accountant. Psychologists, divorce coaches, and many other types of professionals may also be useful during the collaborative divorce process.
Participation Agreements in Collaborative Divorce Cases
Before the collaborative divorce process begins, the couples, their attorneys, and all other participants sign a participation agreement or collaborative agreement.
The parties agree to:
- Maintain an attitude of cooperation and respect
- Resolve the divorce through the collaborative process and not seek court intervention
- Disclose full and accurate information about relevant issues
- Freely provide financial documents and any other records needed to discuss divorce issues
- Negotiate in good faith
If a collaborative divorce fails and a spouse seeks court involvement, the attorneys are barred from representing the spouses during litigation or trial. The spouses would need to hire new attorneys and start over from the beginning. Consequently, spouses and their attorneys are highly motivated to resolve the disputed issues through the collaborative process and avoid litigation.
Contact a Lombard Collaborative Divorce Lawyer
If you want to learn more about alternative resolution methods like collaborative divorce, contact [[title]]. Our Bloomingdale divorce attorneys can help you evaluate your options and decide if collaborative divorce is the right choice for you. Call [[phone]] for a free consultation.