Should I Get a Collaborative Divorce in Davidson?
Collaborative divorce is a new method to resolve marital disputes available in Davidson, North Carolina and other parts of the country. The collaborative divorce process can address all aspects of legal separation and divorce that a traditional litigation method can, including child support, child custody, spousal support, alimony, and property division. The attraction of collaborative divorce is that all of these martial dispute issues are resolved without the need of going through a court proceeding in Davidson. That being said, a North Carolina family court must approve the divorce settlement agreed upon by the couple before a final decree of divorce is issued.History of Collaborative Law
Born in the 1980s, collaborative law is a legal movement that sought to provide an alternative for feuding couples to the stressful, expensive, and drawn-out process of using the United States court system to resolve legal separation and divorce. The collaborative law movement was first initiated in the United States, but it soon was being used in Canada and Europe. Collaborative law has several goals, which include:
- Ensuring that both parties maintain mutual respect for one another;
- Maintaining focus on the needs of any children involved;
- Making sure to address the needs and goals of each party when seeking a solution;
- Avoiding the negative experiences that often come with divorce litigation; and
- Giving the couple the ability to remain in control of the separation and divorce.
Aside from reduced stress and finalizing a divorce with more respect and dignity than a heated litigation process, there are other practical benefits of using the collaborative divorce method. This is because collaborative divorce typically costs much less than litigating a traditional Davidson divorce case in the North Carolina court system. Additionally, the collaborative divorce process takes less time than litigation and is often less stressful for all the parties involved.Understanding Collaborative Divorce
Collaborative divorce is unlike other methods of marital dispute resolution in Davidson. Prior to even starting in the process, collaborative law requires that the couple - in addition to their separate legal counsel - sign a participation agreement. This document is also known as a collaborative law pledge. The agreement puts in writing several rules and concepts that will govern the collaborative divorce process. The parties often agree to the following, in addition to other rules and concepts:
- Freely and openly share information, financial or otherwise, with the other;
- Come in to participate in the collaborative process in good faith;
- Agree that their respective attorneys must withdraw from the matter if the process does not result in a divorce settlement;
- Will likely jointly hire third-party consultants to assist in aspects of the divorce settlement process;
- Work to insulate the children from the divorce process; and
- Provide notice to the attorneys, in writing, should any party wish to stop the collaboration.
During the first group meeting, the couple begins with sharing important financial information. Examples of documents provided may include pay stubs, income tax returns, deeds and deeds of trust, financial account statements, and credit card statements. In subsequent group meetings, the attorneys and any third-party consultants hired - such as tax advisers, accountants, property appraisers, business appraisers, mental health counselors, and/or child welfare specialists - address several issues. These issues may include:
- The couple’s separation, if the couple is still living together in Davidson;
- Decisions regarding child custody and child support;
- Agreement on payment and amount of spousal support and/or alimony; and
- Distribution of marital property, including assets and debts.
The collaborative divorce process is a combination of divorce mediation and traditional divorce litigation. That being said, although collaborative divorce allows the parties to find resolutions to their marital dispute without the need for court intervention, a North Carolina court must approve the couple’s divorce settlement before issuing a final decree. Because the attorneys and professional consultants hired to assist in the collaborative divorce process must withdraw from the matter if no agreement is reached, the parties are able to speak honestly and freely and work toward a common goal without the fear of information being used against him or her during litigation. Moreover, while collaborative divorce is more informal than traditional litigation divorce, it is also often more efficient, less costly, and more peaceful.Davidson Collaborative Divorce Help
If you and your spouse think the collaborative divorce process might be right for you in Davidson, North Carolina or anywhere else in the state, contact the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC. Our board-certified family law attorneys and child welfare law specialists 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.