Collaborative Divorce in Charlotte

Couples choose to get divorced in Charlotte, North Carolina all the time. While many go into the process expecting it to involve long and difficult litigation, those that wisely explore what options are available to them are pleasantly surprised to learn that there are alternatives that are much less contentious. One of those more amicable options is the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) method of collaborative divorce. Collaborative divorce is a good option for Charlotte couples who want to work together to resolve their marital dispute rather than go into battle, often at great cost financially and emotionally against one another. Collaborative divorce is often the best choice for couples because it is less formal, less time consuming, and less costly than traditional litigation divorce in Charlotte.

How Collaborative Divorce is Different

Like virtually all other ADR options, such as mediation or arbitration, collaborative divorce in Charlotte is a non-adversarial process. In theory, ADR options are forms of negotiations that are interest-based. Likewise, arbitration, divorce mediation, and collaborative divorce are voluntary processes. These ADR methods cannot be finalized until and unless the parties agree to a solution that is memorialized it in writing. Alternatively, the couple must agree to stop the process completely should the negotiations result in an impasse.

While there are other ADR options for resolving a Charlotte marital dispute, collaborative divorce is a combination of litigation and other ADR methods. While similar to other ADR methods, collaborative divorce stands out in several ways. First, collaborative law requires that a Charlotte couple hire separate family law attorneys to assist with the process. In fact, the parties may also jointly hire non-legal professionals to help hammer out important issues in the marital dispute. A collaborative divorce addresses all issues involving the dispute including finances, child custody, child support, alimony, and property distribution, and others. Second, collaborative divorce requires complete disclosure of financial information to the other side during the process. Third, the parties must sign a collaborative law pledge that outlines the guidelines and other requirements of the parties for the process to move forward.

Understanding Collaborative Divorce

Before starting the process of collaborative divorce, the couple and all professionals involved, including each spouse’s respective attorney and consulting experts, must sign a participation agreement or collaborative law pledge. The participation agreement requires the full disclosure of financial information by each party as well as full confidentiality. The agreement also requires that the couple reach an agreement in writing on all issues before deciding to go to court. Moreover, the agreement mandates that all professional parties involved withdraw their professional services should either spouse decide to stop the collaborative process and move forward with traditional divorce litigation. Once all issues regarding the Charlotte marital dispute are resolved, the finalized separation agreement is drafted and executed. Then, each spouse’s attorney submits the required paperwork so that a North Carolina court will issue an official divorce decree.

The Focus of Collaborative Divorce

The focus of a collaborative divorce is not on any one person involved but, rather, the collaborative process and the parties working together. This alternative dispute resolution method focuses more on participants’ ability to reach common ground as a collective group. The collaborative divorce process guides the group discussions, their negotiation tactics, the group efforts, and the available options used to solve the marital dispute. Additionally, a collaborative divorce makes it necessary for the parties to listen closely to one another. The parties must also listen and follow the advice of their respective lawyers and any jointly hired consultants in order to achieve a solution. Simply put, a collaborative divorce requires that all the participants – spouses, attorneys, and consultants – to see, listen, and understand each other’s perspectives.

While there are many benefits to a collaborative divorce, there are also some negative aspects. Notably, if the collaborative divorce is not successful and an agreed-upon divorce settlement is not reached, the couple will have to start all over again. This includes hiring new divorce lawyers to handle the matter. As a result, the couple may incur added expense and delay during an already difficult marital dispute. Additionally, the failed collaborative divorce can result in a more contentious litigated divorce between the Charlotte couple due to disillusionment of the parties.

Charlotte Collaborative Divorce Attorneys

If you and your spouse want to learn more about collaborative divorce process in Charlotte or elsewhere in North Carolina, contact the experienced family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC. Our family law attorneys can assist in resolving your marital dispute whether you choose divorce mediation, collaborative divorce, or traditional litigation in Charlotte. Contact our firm today to schedule your initial evaluation with one of our skilled family law attorneys.