How to End Your Marriage Amicably Through Collaborative Divorce
The collaborative divorce process begins when you and your spouse decide you want to work together to resolve the issues of your divorce and make your own decisions to create your divorce settlement. Collaborative divorce is not the answer for everyone so it is important to research all your options first, including mediation and divorce litigation.
Once you and your spouse agree that you can communicate openly and honestly to resolve your divorce issues, you can begin the collaborative divorce process:
- Each spouse hires a lawyer who is experienced in collaborative law and can guide them through the process of reaching a divorce settlement
- The spouses sign an agreement about the terms of the process, including their promises to negotiate in good faith to reach a divorce settlement, avoid litigation, and fully and voluntarily disclose all documents and information that relate to the issues
- The spouses and their attorneys may hire a collaborative team to assist in negotiations, including mental health professionals, child specialists, and financial, real estate and business valuation experts
- Both spouses fill out a financial disclosure form and provide account statements to disclose their assets
- The spouses and their attorneys schedule meetings at their convenience, unlike with litigation where the court schedules hearings
- During each meeting, the lawyers work to guide the spouses toward a settlement
While the goal is to reach a mutual agreement and sign a divorce settlement that benefits everyone, couples can still pursue other options if the collaborative process does not work. Mediation is often an option.
The collaborative divorce process can be highly beneficial, allowing spouses to end their marriage with less cost, delay and disagreement, but it is not for everyone. An experienced collaborative lawyer can provide the guidance you need.