California couples dealing with antagonistic divorce issues may have little choice but to go to court to resolve disputes. However, many divorces can be completed with a collaborative effort to troubleshoot and solve problems through negotiations. In such cases, a collaborative divorce may be achieved as litigation is avoided. Advantages to this approach may include saving time and money, keeping proceedings informal, addressing potential post-divorce concerns in advance and achieving a result that is acceptable to both parties.

In order to proceed with a collaborative divorce, parties must retain their own lawyers, preferably individuals who are supportive of this approach. An adversarial lawyer in this setting can be counter-productive. After privately meeting with one’s own attorney to communicate personal interests and needs, a meeting with both parties and their lawyers follows. It is important to recognize the need for give and take during this process, and limits should be established in those individual meeting times with one’s own lawyer. Specialists who are neutral may be involved to address finances or custody concerns. A mediator may be brought in to assist with areas in which there is difficulty in reaching an agreement.

When a divorce agreement is reached collaboratively, filing is typically simple and uncontested. This can be helpful in limiting the stress that often accompanies litigation. Attorneys and those they represent sign an agreement stating that both attorneys must withdraw if the case moves on to court.

An individual considering collaborative divorce may wonder if this is the right approach. Prior to beginning proceedings, it may be beneficial to meet with a family law attorney familiar with this area of practice to present questions and concerns. Each case is unique, and this may not be the ideal option for every couple, but in some cases, it may provide a helpful alternative to an adversarial approach.

Source: Findlaw, “How Collaborative Divorce Works: FAQs“, August 20, 2014

Source: Findlaw, “How Collaborative Divorce Works: FAQs“, August 20, 2014