Collaborative Divorce Keeps You Out of Huntersville Courts

The premise of collaborative family law and the collaborative divorce process is that the experience of courtroom process is emotionally and financially draining on the parties involved, time consuming, and results in long-term damage to the children and the family’s relationships. Below is some basic information on collaborative divorce in Huntersville, North Carolina to help you understand if this approach is right for you.

How Collaborative Divorce Works

Before even starting in the collaborative divorce process, the couple, along with their separate legal counsel, must sign a participation agreement or collaborative law pledge. This document lays out several ground rules that will govern the collaborative divorce process including the parties agreeing to the following:

  • Openly share information to one another, financial or otherwise;
  • Participate in the process in good faith;
  • Permit their respective attorneys to withdraw from the matter if the collaborative divorce process does not result in a settlement;
  • Jointly hire third-party consultants to assist in the settlement process;
  • Insulate the children from the details of the divorce process; and
  • If any party wishes to stop the collaboration, the attorneys must be notified in writing.

During the first group meeting, the couple shares all of their important financial information. This includes income tax returns, pay stubs, deeds and deeds of trust, credit card statements, and financial account statements. In the following group meetings, the attorneys and any third-party consultants hired to help the process such as accountants, property or business appraisers, counselors, and/or child welfare specialists will address several issues including:

  • Separation, if the couple is still living together;
  • Child custody and child support;
  • Spousal support and/or alimony; and
  • Distribution of marital property, including assets and debts.
Advantages of Collaborative Law

The goal of collaborative divorce is to reach a solution that is cooperative in spirit and nature, taking into account the points of view of all participants involved who help put together a divorce settlement with acceptable terms.

There are several advantages to choosing collaborative law for your Huntersville legal separation or divorce rather than traditional divorce litigation, divorce mediation, or divorce arbitration. This includes:

  • Maintaining your privacy and that of your family by keeping the matter outside of the court’s public records;
  • Retaining control over the outcome of the divorce as well as the agreed upon terms that will govern your relationship post-divorce;
  • Minimizing the emotional turmoil involved in the divorce process by approaching it through collaboration;
  • Keeping the costs and expenses lower for all parties when compared to traditional divorce litigation;
  • Learning that divorce has to neither bankrupt the parties nor turn them against one another.

Instead, collaborative divorce aims to let the couple move on with their lives with dignity and compassion and leave their self-respect and financial assets intact. To be clear, the role of each spouse’s attorney in the collaborative divorce process is different from the roles of attorneys in a traditional divorce litigation process. In the former, the attorney is more like a facilitator working as a team with others while in the latter the attorney is a litigator fighting an adverse party.

Using Collaborative Divorce in Huntersville

Chapter 50 of the North Carolina General Statutes, governs collaborative divorces in Huntersville and the rest of the state. North Carolina state law gives couples an alternative to traditional divorce proceedings - which happen through the state’s court system - who are facing imminent legal separation and eventual divorce. Collaborative divorce helps reduce the use of judicial resources as the court is not involved in the process, although a North Carolina judge must approve the agreed-upon divorce settlement to issue a final decree order of divorce. The focus behind collaborative divorce is to give couples an opportunity to work together toward mutually agreed upon terms for the divorce in a civilized manner.

A Huntersville couple may consider collaborative divorce not just when they are in the process of separation and divorce but also when they are thinking about divorce or legal separation. Sometimes a couple may seek out collaborative divorce to understand the implications of a Huntersville divorce before moving forward with an official divorce proceeding in North Carolina.

Huntersville Collaborative Divorce Attorneys

If you and your spouse think the collaborative divorce process might be right for you in Huntersville or anywhere else in the state of North Carolina, contact the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC. Our team includes board-certified family law attorneys and a child welfare law specialist that can guide you through the collaborative divorce process. Contact our firm today to schedule your initial evaluation with one of our skilled family law attorneys.