When you have reached in a point in your marriage where you know the relationship is beyond repair, it is time to start thinking about divorce options. Depending on you and your spouse’s ability to work together, you may have more choices than you realize when it comes to achieving a workable divorce agreement. Divorcing spouses who refuse to cooperate or agree on major issues are often forced to pursue their marital dissolution in litigation. Those can cooperate to a certain extent, however, may have the alternative of a collaborative divorce.
What is Collaborative Divorce?
A collaborative divorce is, at its core, a negotiation process, aimed at developing a final divorce agreement, with all of the associated concerns, without leaving issues to be decided by the court. Each spouse retains a qualified attorney to advise and assist in the negotiation. Spouses and their attorneys may meet separately so the attorneys can better understand their clients’ wants and needs. The bulk of the process, however, takes place with the spouses and attorneys together, along with any other professionals necessary to the proceedings.
In addition to the legal concerns, which can normally be addressed by the attorneys present, collaborative divorce allows for the inclusion of professionals from a variety of fields. These typically include financial planners or advisers, child custody or parenting specialists, mental health professionals, and divorce coaches. The contributions of such individuals are taken into account in developing the divorce agreement, ensuring that it is legally and substantially sound.
Advantages of Collaborative Divorce
By choosing a collaborative divorce, the parties retain a much higher level of control over the process. The exchange of information is voluntary, of course, but the atmosphere of cooperation is often much more conducive to efficient negotiation. The input of each spouse is valued and discussed, and each contributes directly to the final outcome. As such, a negotiated agreement may be more likely to be followed by each party, as each had a hand in its creation.
Avoiding the uncertainty of court is an important consideration, as well. While there are laws and statutes that govern most aspects of divorce, including child custody and property division, the application of the law is based on the factors present in each situation. A court may try to take a family’s circumstances into account, but a court will never have as clear an understanding as the family itself. Collaborative divorce puts those considerations directly in the hands of the family as they seek to reach a divorce agreement.
In the event that the collaborative divorce process fails to produce results, the case may be forced to move to litigation. The spouses will need to hire new attorneys in that case and prepare a new strategy for approaching the divorce. If you have questions about the divorce process, whether collaborative or litigated, contact an experienced Orland Park divorce attorney today. We offer free initial consultations so that you can have your questions answered before making such important decisions.