THE COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE
If you and your spouse have made the difficult decision to end your marriage, you also need to decide how to do so. Collaborative Divorce offers a way for you to end your marriage and resolve your marital issues without the acrimony and hard feelings that often result from litigation and allowing a judge with limited information to make those decisions for you.
Collaborative Divorce allows you and your spouse to work together with your trained Collaborative Law attorneys to resolve your marital issues as a team and allows you to focus on your common and individual needs and goals.
The first step is for you, your spouse and your respective attorneys to sign a Collaborative Family Law Agreement identifying the issues to be addressed and containing a commitment that the parties and attorneys will deal with each other in good faith to share information and documentation cooperatively, confidentially and completely. Such an Agreement provides that there will be no adversarial court intervention, that where appropriate the parties will jointly retain any necessary experts, such as therapists, accountants, appraisers and consultants, to assist them in resolving their issues, and that all attorneys and other professionals will withdraw their services if either party decides to litigate rather than continue to work towards a cooperative resolution of their marital issues. In the Collaborative Law process, both attorneys will be disqualified from representing you and your spouse in any adversarial court proceeding related to your marital issues, so you will both need to secure different attorneys to proceed.
After the Collaborative Family Law Agreement is signed by all parties, meetings between you, your spouse and your attorneys will be held to make a plan for the exchange of information and documentation, to review that information and options for settlement and to negotiate a resolution of your marital issues. Other neutral professionals, such as child specialists, financial professionals and the like, may attend the meetings in order to review possible outcomes and offer solutions. Once all issues are resolved, the parties' agreement will be reduced to writing in the form of either a Separation Agreement in which the parties are bound by contract or a Consent Order, the terms of which will be entered in an uncontested Court proceeding and which may be enforced by the contempt powers of the Court.
Advantages of Collaborative Divorce:
- Generally less expensive with a more predictable cost than the traditional method of court litigation which includes court costs as well as attorneys’ fees.
- You and your spouse will more likely be able to co-parent cordially and harmoniously as you focus on the needs of your children.
- You and your spouse can reach a private agreement and you retain control of your separation and divorce.
- Your children can observe their parents working together to resolve a difficult situation which provides a better foundation for future family dynamics.
Elaine Ashley and Michele Smith, two of the family law attorneys at Hill Evans Jordan & Beatty, are charter members of the Triad Family Law Collaborative Law Group. For more information on this group please visit www.triadcollaborative.com. They are trained in and have facilitated hundreds of divorces using Collaborative Law and mediation techniques. They can provide you with the support and guidance you need to reach the best possible resolution of your separation and divorce issues, while protecting your rights and ensuring your concerns are met through negotiation in a respectful and amicable setting.
Call 336-379-1390 to discuss the Collaborative Divorce process with our family law attorneys. We are here to help you resolve your divorce in the most respectful way possible.
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