If you and your ex split amicably, you may be considering a collaborative divorce. Many couples have decided to forgo the conventional divorce in favor of a collaborative divorce, as it can often preserve the friendship.
If you and your ex are thinking about a collaborative divorce, read more on approaching a collaborative divorce.
What Is a Collaborative Divorce?
In a collaborative divorce, each spouse usually has their own lawyer to represent them and their interests. The spouses and lawyers meet and work together to agree on the divorce terms, including custody, spousal support, child support, and splitting up property. It's similar to mediation, but lawyers are involved.
The goal is for both parties to have a say in divorce terms. They may come to a compromise, but ideally, both parties will be satisfied with the end result. While lawyers are involved, both parties are trying to avoid litigation.
Benefits of a Collaborative Divorce
There are many benefits to a collaborative divorce. Separating from your spouse is stressful enough, so it's good if you can avoid any added stress. In a collaborative divorce, you may keep things friendly between you and your ex, which is a good idea if you have children.
You'll also both get a say in terms of your divorce. If you let it go to court, the judge may not rule in your favor.
A collaborative divorce is usually cheaper and can be finalized much quicker than a conventional divorce. It may be better than mediation because you'll have an attorney dedicated to your interests.
When Collaborative Divorce Isn't Right for You
A collaborative divorce isn't suitable for everyone. If you go into the wrong type of divorce, you can have problems and cost yourself money in the long run.
It's important to remember that a conventional divorce can be just as civil as a collaborative or mediated divorce.
If things are less than civil between you and your ex, you may not be able to reach an agreement. You may not avoid things getting messy, especially if communicating with your ex is difficult or if you both want different things out of the divorce. If things can't be resolved, you may need to bring your divorce to the courtroom.
It's also easier for your spouse to present untrue information in a collaborative divorce. For example, it's easier for them to cover up income to avoid paying as much in spousal support.
How to Approach a Collaborative Divorce
When approaching a collaborative divorce, you first need to ask yourself one crucial question: do you think a collaborative divorce is truly possible with the current state of you and your ex's relationship?
Next, you must talk with your ex. You both need to be on the same page before agreeing to move forward with a collaborative divorce. If your ex doesn't seem receptive or starts making demands that you know you won't be able to agree to, then you may need to pursue a conventional divorce.
The third thing you'll need to do is find an attorney that handles collaborative divorce. You and your ex will each need your own attorney. You'll meet with your attorney to discuss the terms of the divorce and what you want. They'll help you develop a plan for child custody, splitting assets and debt, and child/spousal support.
Your attorneys will assemble a team of specialists to help you make these decisions. These specialists will work for both you and your ex. You, your attorney, your spouse, and their attorney will have an initial meeting. After this meeting, you'll decide whether you want to sign the "no court" agreement for a collaborative divorce.
From there, it will be difficult, though not impossible, for you to exit the collaborative divorce and pursue litigation. It's essential to be honest during all proceedings, as things can be taken back to court if any concealment is revealed.
Once you've revealed everything, your attorneys will draft a document to sign for you and your ex. As long as everything is reasonable, the judge will sign it and your divorce will be processed.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Your First Meeting
Below are a few questions you may want to ask yourself before your first meeting:
- What do you think is a reasonable custody agreement?
- How will your assets be split?
- How will you split any debt you have together?
- Who will get the house or will you sell?
- What is appropriate child support?
- Should either spouse pay spousal support?
Need Advice on a Collaborative Divorce? We Can Help
If you're considering a collaborative divorce, an attorney at The Law Office of Rebecca J. Carrillo can help. We can help you decide if a collaborative divorce works for you and guide you through the entire process. Contact us today for consultation at (210) 405-6623.