How Does Collaborative Law Work in Charlotte?

Our North Carolina based family law firm offers collaborative law as an alternative option when settling your Charlotte legal separation or divorce. Collaborative divorce is process that can be used to address many issues that arise during this time including alimony, child custody, child support, and equitable distribution of marital assets. Through this process, a couple is able to resolve their marital dispute with dignity and without involving North Carolina’s court system therefore offering more privacy. If successful, the result in a collaborative divorce is a signed divorce settlement. There are, however, some particular features of collaborative divorce that you should understand.

The Collaborative Divorce Process

Before starting to negotiate through collaborative divorce, the couple as well as attorneys and non-legal professionals assisting in the process sign a binding document called the participation agreement. This binding document is sometimes referred to as a collaborative law pledge, this document lays out all of the ground rules that are expected to be followed during the negotiation process. Examples of the common terms in the participation agreement or collaborative law pledge include, but are not limited to:

  • The parties acknowledge the collaboration is non adversarial;
  • Both parties agree that neither will seek judicial intervention;
  • Both parties consent to jointly hiring third-party professional consultants;
  • Both parties agree to insulate any children from the divorce process;
  • The parties understand the collaboration may not be successful;
  • The parties agree to come to the collaboration in good faith and with integrity;
  • All parties acknowledge that either spouse’s misrepresentation or withholding of information can result in their attorney’s withdrawal from the case;
  • All parties agree that the attorneys and non-legal professionals involved in the collaboration cannot handle the manner should it proceed to court;
  • The parties agree that notice of cancellation of the collaboration must be provided in writing to the attorneys; and
  • All parties pledging to negotiate and engage the spirit of collaboration.

The participation agreement or collaborative law pledge is the foundation of this alternative dispute resolution method.

How Collaborative Divorce Works

With their respective family law attorneys and professional consultants, each spouse sits down together with the team to hammer out an agreement that works for both. Simply put, the goal of collaborative divorce is to find solutions to issues that arise from legal separation and divorce without putting these solutions in the hands of a single family law judge.

During the collaborative law process, the couple jointly hires non-legal professionals to help facilitate solutions to common divorce-related problems. Theses consultants may include accountants, property or business appraisers, mental health therapists, child welfare specialists, or other professionals necessary to resolve the issue at hand. Unlike mediation, all participants in a collaborative divorce remain in the same conference room and discuss traditional and nontraditional ways to resolve disputes or points of disagreement between the couple. The goal of the entire team is to find an amicable solution for both parties that can be memorialized in a divorce settlement agreement. If successfully resolved, the couple’s respective parties then submit the necessary paperwork to a North Carolina court so that a final divorce decree may be issued.

Understanding Collaborative Law

Collaborative law is a movement that began in the 1980s to provide an alternative to the long, expensive, and stressful process of using the court system to resolve legal separation and divorces. The movement was first sparked in the United States, but spread to Canada and Europe. There are several goals in collaborative law, including:

  • Making sure the parties maintain mutual respect for one another;
  • Focusing on the needs of any children involved;
  • Addressing the needs and goals of each party when looking for a solution;
  • Avoiding all negative aspects that come with divorce litigation; and
  • Allowing the couple to remain in control of the separation and divorce.

One benefit of collaborative divorce is that it typically costs much less than litigating a traditional Charlotte divorce case. Likewise, collaborative divorce can take less time and is often less stressful than going through North Carolina’s court system.

Collaborative Divorce Attorneys in Charlotte

If you and your spouse are interested in learning more about the collaborative divorce process in Charlotte or anywhere else in the state of North Carolina, contact the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC. Our family law team has board-certified family law attorneys as well as child welfare law specialists ready to guide you through this process. Our family law attorneys can help you resolve your marital dispute whether you choose divorce mediation, collaborative divorce, or traditional litigation. Contact our firm today to schedule your initial evaluation with one of our skilled family law attorneys.