When people think about divorce, they think of lengthy and messy court battles. However, many divorcing couples nowadays are able to settle their divorce matters without going to court. If you are about to get a divorce, you should know that you have the option of resolving your divorce-related issues through out-of-court alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceedings.
One of the out-of-court alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceedings that you and your spouse can consider if you wish to avoid litigation is a “collaborative divorce.” However, if you have never heard of collaborative divorce or if you do not know enough about this ADR proceeding, you should familiarize yourself with it first before making any major decision.
Below is a look at what collaborative divorce entails and the possible pros and cons.
What is Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative divorce is a divorce process that gives divorcing couples the chance to negotiate the terms of their divorce without the need for “fighting” in court. However, for a couple to qualify for a collaborative divorce, both spouses must agree to it. Once in agreement, the collaborative divorce process usually begins with each spouse selecting an attorney. In a collaborative divorce, spouses retain separate lawyers who can represent their rights and help them reach a fair agreement. Basically, your attorney represents only your interests, whereas your spouse’s attorney represents only your spouse’s interests.
After you and your spouse have each chosen an attorney, you will meet with your attorney, and your spouse will meet with theirs. After that, you and your attorney will meet with your spouse and their attorney. At this meeting, you will sign an agreement that states, among other things, that if either spouse chooses to litigate any matter, the attorney must withdraw from the case. After signing the agreement, you will have several sessions to discuss the divorce-related issues pertaining to your divorce case. In a collaborative divorce, couples get to tackle the same matters handled in divorce court, which include;
- Child support, parenting plans, and timesharing
- Alimony/Spousal support
- Property distribution
Openness is of utmost importance during the collaborative divorce process. During the collaborative divorce process, you and your spouse must disclose everything to each other, including your assets and debts, and be completely transparent.
Pros and Cons of Collaborative Divorce
There are several pros and cons of collaborative divorce. Below are some of these pros and cons:
- The collaborative divorce process is confidential. Involved parties get to keep all aspects of the divorce process and settlement private.
- A collaborative divorce can save you time. Unlike a court case, a collaborative divorce case is not bound by hearing dates. Therefore, you can settle your issues much faster. Often, a collaborative divorce will take less time to settle than a court-based divorce.
- It can be quite hard to trust your soon-to-be-ex-spouse to be open in disclosing assets, debts, among other things.
- In case you do not reach an agreement, you will need to hire a new attorney and start over in court. This can cause additional emotional and financial stress.
Contact Tampa Bay Legal Center for Legal Help
If you have questions about the collaborative divorce process, do not hesitate to contact the experienced divorce attorneys at Tampa Bay Legal Center, P.A.