Collaborative Divorce: Steps You Can Take Before an Attorney Gets Involved

It is always a good idea to be proactive. When you are dealing with a divorce in North Carolina, you should be thinking ahead. Maybe you are still considering the prospect of a divorce. Perhaps you are still married. Maybe your spouse does not even know that you are considering a divorce. Whatever the case may be, there are many steps you can take before your divorce attorney even gets involved.

Taking these steps can be a smart move for many reasons:

  1. It allows you to speed up the process considerably, saving you from needless delays and issues.
  2. It might actually make your divorce cheaper. Remember, many divorce attorneys charge by the hour. The more work you can do yourself, the more money you will save.
  3. Taking these steps simply gives you more control over your divorce.

By doing as much as you can ahead of time, you will start to understand more about how divorce works, and you will feel more confident about moving forward.

With all that said, it is always a good idea to get in touch with a qualified divorce attorney in North Carolina as soon as possible. Even though you might not think you need our assistance just yet, you should still get in touch with a legal professional. Initial consultations are often free. During these initial consultations, we can explain how collaborative divorce works. We can also recommend specific courses of action and help you choose the most cost-effective, expedited strategy. When it is time to call upon your attorney to help draft the separation agreement, we can immediately get to work immediately.

Moving Out

One of the easiest things you can do before you get an attorney involved is also one of the simplest. In order to move forward with your divorce in North Carolina, you will almost always need to separate from your spouse for 12 months. In most cases, this means living under separate roofs and ceasing all marital relations. If you want your marriage to go as smoothly as possible, you should take this step seriously. It might seem tiresome to wait a year before moving forward with your divorce, but it is an unavoidable reality of North Carolina divorce law. Keep in mind that getting back together with your spouse for a one-night stand could “reset the clock,” so to speak.

Gathering Documents

Before an attorney gets involved, you can also start gathering various documents. For most divorces, spouses should focus on financial documentation, such as income reports, mortgage statements, tax returns, and so on. Anything that clearly shows the wealth and income of your spouse may be helpful as you deal with matters related to property division. Of course, much more evidence might be beneficial in a divorce. For example, anything related to how your child was raised could be helpful for child custody disputes in the future. This is one of the best things you can do while you are waiting for that 12-month separation period to expire.

Working Out the Details of Your Separation Agreement

During the 12-month waiting period, you can also start hashing out the details of your separation agreement alongside your spouse. This is one of the best things about collaborative law, as it allows you to start making important decisions without the presence of a judge, lawyers, or anyone else, for that matter. If you and your spouse can work out the details of your separation before you sit down with your attorneys, the process becomes straightforward. In this situation, your attorneys must assess what you have agreed upon and draft an official separation agreement. If you and your spouse have agreed upon virtually every aspect of your divorce, this final process can take just a few days.

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you have been searching the North Carolina area for an experienced divorce attorney, look no further than Arnold & Smith, PLLC. We know that many spouses in North Carolina value their independence, and we encourage you to take proactive steps before you call upon us for help. Collaborative divorce is the best option if you value your independence, your time, and your money. By working with your spouse to handle as much of the heavy lifting as possible beforehand, you make this process as easy as possible. When you are ready, book your consultation to learn more about how we can make this all work.