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Do I Need a Collaborative Divorce in Cornelius?

Going through a divorce in Cornelius, North Carolina is difficult, as is making the life-changing decision to separate from your spouse. Ending a marital relationship and declaring that your legal marriage be terminated can be a hard truth to face for both parties. Just ending the relationship can spark turmoil and heightened emotions during the separation. What is more, any children that may have resulted from the marriage often get dragged into the dispute, which can have long-lasting effects on the entire extended family.

If you and your spouse want to avoid a contentious divorce, you should be mindful that there are many options you have at your disposal under North Carolina law to officially split up on good terms. Specifically, there are three broad processes by which a couple may finalize their divorce — divorce mediation, collaborative divorce, or traditional divorce litigation. The following article will focus on collaborative divorce and explain why it may be a good choice for a couple seeking a process that can often be less combative.

What is Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative divorces in Cornelius are governed by Chapter 50 of North Carolina’s General Statutes. This state law provides an alternative for couples that do not want to go through traditional divorce litigation through the state’s court system. The concept behind collaborative divorce is that a couple can work together and come to a mutually agreed-upon decision regarding important matters relating to their marital dispute. Although a North Carolina court does not get involved in distribution of marital property during the process, the court does have to approve the final divorce settlement upon which the couple agrees.

Using the Collaborative Divorce Method

A couple can consider collaborative divorce in North Carolina when the two are facing divorce, or even if they are just thinking about legal separation or divorce. It is important for the couple to understand the legal consequences of divorce before moving forward with pursuing official proceedings. In a collaborative divorce, each spouse has his or her own attorney who uses mediation and settlement skills to assist the couple to reach an agreement. Of note, the role of a collaborative attorney is different than that of an attorney handling traditional divorce litigation. In the former, the attorney acts more like a mediator, while in the latter, the attorney is a litigator in what is by its nature a more adversarial process.

The parties must enter into a collaborative law pledge or participation agreement before engaging in a collaborative divorce. In order for the pledge or agreement to be valid in North Carolina, it must:

  • Be memorialized in writing;
  • Be signed by both spouses, as well as the attorneys representing them; and
  • Include provisions stipulating the withdrawal of legal counsel if the collaboration does not result in a divorce settlement.

Other issues the collaborative divorce pledge or participation agreement may include:

  • Freely sharing financial and other information with the other side;
  • Participating in the collaborative process in good faith;
  • Jointly hiring professional consultants and experts to assist in the divorce settlement process;
  • Working to insulate children from the divorce process; and
  • Providing written notice to the attorneys if any party wishes to stop the collaboration.
Benefits of Collaborative Divorce

There are several advantages for pursuing a collaborative divorce instead of a traditional divorce in North Carolina. Some reasons why a couple may decide to use collaborative divorce for their marital dispute includes:

  • Reducing the high level of stress that is associated with a traditional divorce proceeding in North Carolina;
  • Reducing costs and expenses, by reaching a divorce agreement outside of North Carolina’s court system, while still using professional attorneys;
  • Allowing the couple to have a better understanding of the terms because collaboration allows them to talk through each term and come to an agreement.

If you are considering divorce in Cornelius or anywhere else in the state of North Carolina, you should learn more about your options including divorce mediation, collaborative divorce, and traditional divorce litigation. The method by which you and your spouse choose to divorce is dependent upon your preferences and the specific facts of your marital dispute.

Divorce Help in Cornelius

If you are interested in learning more about the collaborative divorce process in Cornelius or other parts of North Carolina, contact our experienced family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC. We can guide you through whatever process you choose including divorce mediation, collaborative divorce, or traditional litigation. Contact our firm today to schedule your initial evaluation with one of our skilled family law attorneys.