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Collaborative Divorce: Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re contemplating divorce or are in the early stages, the entire process might seem frightening, overwhelming and confusing.

While a traditional divorce is the right choice for many couples, if you want a less contentious option, consider a collaborative divorce.

Many Americans have never heard the term collaborative divorce and do not know whether this type of divorce is a feasible option for them. But there’s no reason why you should miss out on a process that could potentially save you time and heartache. Here are a few frequently asked questions that you might have about a collaborative divorce.

What Exactly Is a Collaborative Divorce?

A traditional divorce, or a divorce for which the terms are decided in court, can be very contentious and can wind up costing both parties several thousand dollars in fees. A collaborative divorce, on the other hand, is another option for couples who want to part ways in a more peaceful manner.

When either spouse files for a dissolution of marriage, or a traditional divorce, the process begins with one spouse petitioning the court. The second spouse must answer this petition, and then the long and often heartbreaking divorce process begins. The partners may need to hire attorneys and mental health professionals and involve witnesses, including family members and friends.

With a traditional divorce, parties typically use position-based bargaining. With this strategy, both spouses are likely interested only in their own needs and how the outcome of the divorce will impact their future. In some cases, the partners can’t reach an amicable resolution, so a traditional divorce is the appropriate option. However, the entire process can take months or even years to complete, so many couples want an alternative.

In a collaborative divorce, the goal is to come to a resolution that is best for all parties involved. Both parties are encouraged to be open, honest and understanding. For this process to work, both spouses must agree to cooperate and come to a mutually beneficial agreement.

Is a Collaborative Divorce the Same as Divorce Mediation?

Many people mistakenly confuse a collaborative divorce with divorce mediation. However, the two are different in many ways, and it is important that you understand these differences before you choose the option that is right for you.

Here are a few differences between a collaborative divorce and divorce mediation:

  • Legal representation. The ability to have your attorney in the room with you while working out your divorce settlement is the main difference between mediation and collaborative divorce. During mediation, you are allowed to consult an attorney, but the attorney cannot accompany you. During a collaborative divorce, you are allowed to have your attorney present.
  • The mediator. During mediation, there are three people in the room: the mediator, you and your spouse. If your spouse is belligerent or isn’t willing to cooperate, the process will be fruitless.
  • No court proceedings. Finally, before both parties can seek a collaborative divorce, they must each sign a collaborative-participation agreement. One critical aspect of this document is the agreement that neither party will involve the court. If you go through mediation, and it fails, you might need to involve the court to come to a resolution.

These are only a few of the differences between a collaborative divorce and mediation. If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to contact an attorney.

Where Should I Begin the Process?

Beginning the collaborative divorce process requires two steps: a cooperative spouse and a talented attorney. It is critical that you hire an attorney with collaborative-divorce experience and that both you and your spouse understand what is involved in the process.

For many couples, a collaborative divorce is the most effective way to come to a peaceful and mutually beneficial end to a marriage. If you’re considering collaborative divorce, don’t hesitate to contact the professionals at Justice Law Firm, PC.

Let an experienced, Southlake Divorce Lawyer help you through your divorce or family law matter.

The Justice Law Firm in Southlake, Texas is dedicated to helping individuals in Southlake and the surrounding areas with Divorce and Family Law issues. At the Justice Law Firm, you will find experienced and professional divorce attorneys.