Can there be a collaborative approach to Divorce?

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While the term collaborative divorce might sound contradictory, the process can be productive, fair and successful. However, it does require that both spouses be willing to compromise, be considerate and be reasonable. If a divorcing couple can manage to come together in this cooperative effort they can save on the cost of their divorce and retain full control of all of their decisions, both financial and personal.

For the process to work it is imperative that both parties are willing to meet face to face with attorney’s they both know and trust to facilitate a compromising environment. In addition, it is necessary for other professionals to be involved including financial advisors and possibly those skilled in the area of mental health for the benefit of both parties and any children. Lastly, both parties must be dedicated to acting in a civil manner and being dedicated to communicating with each other with respect, honesty and integrity.

Using a collaborative divorce process allows for many benefits. Some of those benefits include;

  • Setting your own timeline for the process
  • Securing professionals to assist in valuing assets
  • Cooperatively deciding how to distribute your assets
  • Flexibility with child custody schedules
  • Fairness in determining the distribution of responsibility for the payment of outstanding family debts
  • Creating a greater chance of satisfaction and follow through as both parties have fully participated in the drafting of the terms and the final agreement

To proceed in a collaborative divorce process both parties must be willing to secure their own attorneys. It is important to pick two professionals who will support your cooperative effort and help you protect your personal interests, without creating a cantankerous environment. Therefore, before hiring counsel to assist you in a collaborative divorce, be sure that both professionals have experience and are dedicated to a process of skilled negotiation, have the ability to listen and communicate effectively and are willing to encourage compromise.

In addition, there are some very important ground rules that must be established when using collaborative divorce;

  1. The parties must agree that they will not threaten or attempt to go to court
  2. If the parties cannot reach an agreement and must turn to the court system, both must choose new representation
  3. Parties must agree to meet in person rather than communicating via email or telephone or solely through their representation

In the event that a collaborative divorce reaches a point of contention, there is always the option to hire an independent mediator to come in and work with both parties. Therefore, it can be extremely worthwhile to begin a collaborative process as there will be steps that can be taken to reach a final agreement in the event that the parties get stymied.

Once you agree on the terms of your divorce, the attorneys can draft an agreement that reflects the decisions you have both made. The parties will then be asked to review the document and provide their signatures to it. The attorney(s) will then submit the agreement to the court for final approval.

The route of collaborative divorce provides many benefits including preventing you and your spouse from having to appear in court or rely on a judge for making any final determinations about your future. Instead, this process will give you and your spouse the best option for retaining personal control and making decisions that are right for you and your family.

If you find yourself in need of assistance with this, or any other legal issue, please contact the law offices of Owen Hodge Lawyers. At Owen Hodge, we are always happy to assist clients in understanding the full ramifications of any and all of your legal needs. Please feel free to call us at your earliest convenience to schedule a consultation at 1800 770 780.

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