The Most Important Laws Surrounding Collaborative Divorce in North Carolina

Although it is true that collaborative divorce offers couples in North Carolina more freedom and flexibility, there are still strict laws that govern this process. Understanding these laws is crucial if you want your collaborative divorce to end well. Many divorcing spouses make the same mistakes when going through the collaborative divorce process, and many of these mistakes are made because they do not fully understand the various rules and regulations set forth by the state of North Carolina. If you are considering whether or not collaborative divorce is the right choice for you, you should assess these laws and factor them in as you come to a final decision.

Of course, it becomes much easier to understand the laws surrounding collaborative divorce when working with a qualified divorce attorney in North Carolina. Our legal professionals have an understanding of these laws, and we can explain how they work. Not only that, but we can guide you through the actual collaborative divorce process itself. If you choose this option, our lawyers will negotiate on your behalf, help draft the separation agreement, and much more. If you are interested in collaborative divorce, it is best to consult with a lawyer who has experience with this specific area of family law. 

You Must Fire Your Attorney if the Collaborative Law Process Fails

Perhaps the most important thing you need to remember is that you cannot continue with the same attorney if the collaborative law process fails. If you and your spouse reach a deadlock and come to the conclusion that you will need to go to court to resolve your issues, your attorney cannot continue to represent you. North Carolina law clearly states that you must sign an agreement before beginning the process, and that this agreement must “include provisions for the withdrawal of all attorneys involved in the collaborative law procedure if the collaborative law procedure does not result in settlement of the dispute.”

Inadmissible Evidence

You should also know that everything you share during the collaborative law process becomes inadmissible evidence if the negotiations fail and the divorce goes to trial. North Carolina law clearly states that “all statements, communications, and work product made or arising from a collaborative law procedure are confidential and inadmissible in any court proceeding. The definition of “work product” is any written or verbal communications or analysis of a third-party expert used in your collaborative divorce. This includes the communications and analysis of your attorney. This is another reason why you need to avoid the failure of your collaborative divorce as much as possible. 

If a Spouse Dies During the Collaborative Divorce

North Carolina law also dictates what happens if a spouse dies before the collaborative divorce process is complete. If the negotiations have already been initiated before the spouse dies, the surviving spouse can continue with the collaborative law process anyway. Instead of dealing with the deceased spouse, they will continue the negotiations with the personal representative of their estate. This may be something you need to keep in mind in terms of inheritance and other matters. 

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that while there are relatively few laws that govern collaborative divorces in North Carolina, those few laws are definitely worth considering before you make your decision. For the most part, these laws make it clear that the stakes are quite high when you begin this process. If you fail to come to an agreement with your spouse, you will likely be in a worse situation than when you began. This is because you will need to hire a new lawyer, and you also will not have the chance to use any of the evidence or documents you shared during the collaborative divorce process. This is why it is so important to rely on a divorce attorney so that you can get the job done right the first time. 

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you have been searching for a qualified family law attorney in North Carolina who has experience with collaborative divorce, look no further than Arnold & Smith, PLLC. We are familiar with the laws that surround collaborative divorce, and we can explain them further if you need more clarification. On top of that, we can guide you toward a positive legal outcome if you decide that collaborative divorce is the right choice for you. Over the years, we have helped numerous spouses in North Carolina walk away from their marriages with a sense of confidence, efficiency, and dignity. Reach out, book your consultation, and we can do the same for you.