Divorce can get ugly. Hearings, trials, contentious negotiations – the adversarial process doesn’t always produce efficient outcomes. In lieu of litigation in family court, some separating couples choose collaborative divorce. Considering it was sanctioned only in 2007, it’s not surprising that it’s not yet a well-known option. Collaborative divorce is a form of alternative dispute resolution where the parties try to negotiate the issue between themselves instead of submitting it to the court. Collaborative divorce has a few salient features that make it different from usual court proceedings. For parties seeking alternatives, collaborative divorce might be worth considering.
Roseville family law attorney Jin Kim represents clients in collaborative divorce and mediation. To learn more about collaborative divorce and avoiding family court call her office at (916) 270-6880.
Attorneys & Other Professionals
One of the main features of collaborative divorce is that parties work together rather than against each other. In doing this, the parties will often be assisted by a team of professionals. A lawyer must assist each party. In addition to lawyers, there might be a need to bring psychologists and even child specialists if the case involves children.
Financial experts may also be needed when it comes to the division of assets and liabilities. In some instances, a mediator may also be hired if the parties decide to include mediation in their proceedings.
Some firms specialize in collaborative divorce proceedings, and they are referred to as “collaborative practice groups.” These kinds of firms usually have the necessary experts needed for collaborative divorce and lawyers who are well-versed in the process.
The costs for these experts are usually split between the parties, but the parties can also stipulate another method of sourcing the payments between themselves.
Agreement To Avoid Family Court
The so-called “No-Court Agreement” refers to an agreement signed by both parties and their lawyers agreeing that neither will resort to judicial action while the collaborative divorce proceedings are going on. This frees up parties from threats of litigation that may hinder the process.
If the proceedings conclude without a satisfactory agreement, the parties may opt to go to family court. However, the lawyers retained for the collaborative divorce cannot represent the clients in the court proceedings; they have to withdraw. The parties will need to hire new lawyers to represent them.
In choosing legal representation for a collaborative divorce, it’s recommended to hire one who is well-versed in the process to serve as an effective guide.
Pros and Cons
Collaborative divorce can be extremely beneficial, but it’s not always the best option.
The cost of collaborative divorce is often lesser than the total costs incurred litigating a divorce case. This is especially true for long and protracted divorce cases. Parties can save on attorney fees in collaborative divorce. It is a good option for those who don’t have the financial means to seek out a court decree.
Scheduling & Duration
Another advantage is regarding control of the time. Collaborative divorces usually take up less time than usual court proceedings, which can sometimes take years. Furthermore, the parties retain most of the control on matters like scheduling informal meetings. Parties whose schedules are hectic or unpredictable may find collaborative divorce as a good option.
Parties also retain most of the control in collaborative divorce. They’re given the discretion to negotiate their position and arguing on their behalf. They’re also responsible for deciding what they think is a fair agreement. In addition to this, collaborative divorce proceedings are also confidential.
Collaborative divorce also has a less traumatic effect on children. Since the emphasis is on working together, children are less likely to see their parents fighting. The presence of a child specialist or counselor in the case also helps.
Not Always The Best Option
Collaborative divorce, however, can be risky if there is a history of abuse between parties or when their communication is strained. It is also a risk if a party is actively trying to hide assets instead of disclosing them.