Timeline of a Collaborative Divorce in North Carolina

If you are considering collaborative divorce in North Carolina, you might be a little unsure about the overall process. What can you expect from this option? How do you start? What does the timeline of a collaborative divorce look like from start to finish? All of these are important and understandable questions.

Most spouses know more about the trial process than the collaborative divorce process. This is probably because of the trials' dramatic nature, making them more suitable for inclusion in various movies and television series that spouses in North Carolina may have seen. But in real life, collaborative divorce has many important advantages over the traditional trial process, and it is proving to be an extremely popular option for spouses across the United States.

If you have questions about the overall process of a collaborative divorce, it is essential to consult with a qualified, experienced divorce attorney in North Carolina before moving forward. These legal professionals can help you understand what to expect from your collaborative divorce, and they can explain the timeline of this process in clear, concise terms. When you know what to expect, proceeding with confidence and efficiency becomes much easier.

Step One: Reviewing Your Collaborative Divorce

The first step is to simply get both spouses and their various representatives together in the same room. This initial meeting allows your attorney to meet with your spouse's attorney. These meetings might include forensic accountants and other specialists. Everyone then has a chance to review the overall process, and this can be especially helpful for the less experienced spouses. You will then have an opportunity to set some ground rules, express a few initial concerns, and ask any questions you might have.

You will most likely be required to sign a set of documents that bind you to various agreed-upon rules before getting started. These might include matters related to being late or not showing up to meetings or rules about not revealing the details of the upcoming negotiations.

Step Two: Information Gathering

In order to make sound decisions, you need access to as much information as possible. In a typical trial, this is known as the "discovery" phase. Although a collaborative divorce is much less formal, it still follows the same basic rules, especially when it comes to information gathering.

During this stage of your collaborative divorce, both parties will voluntarily exchange as much information as possible. This might include financial documents, details about a spouse's income, deeds for properties, and so on. Due to the signing of a "preliminary declaration of disclosure," your spouse is legally obliged to reveal this information. When this stage comes to an end, both spouses will sign a "final declaration of disclosure," which states that they have shared as much information as they can without concealing anything.

At this stage, you can call upon third-party specialists, such as forensic accountants. These individuals can find information that may be difficult to obtain, such as details of commingled assets.

Step Three: Temporary Arrangements and Paperwork

At this point, some issues may need to be addressed immediately. Many spouses need financial support, and concerns about children often need to be taken care of without delay. Your collaborative divorce process allows you to create formal or informal arrangements to handle these matters. In addition, you will need to take care of various pieces of paperwork once the collaborative divorce process is underway, perhaps most notably the divorce petition.

Step Four: Negotiation and Settlement

This is probably the most critical part of a collaborative divorce, and it can also be the most challenging and time-consuming. During the negotiation, spouses try to agree upon virtually every aspect of their divorce. This includes matters related to child support, alimony, child custody, and property division. Your attorneys will play an important role in making sure that everyone's needs and priorities are satisfied. When you have agreed upon all essential matters, the final agreement is signed and then submitted to the courts. From then on, a judge needs to review and sign the agreement. Your divorce is now complete.

Enlist the Help of a Qualified, Experienced Attorney Today

If you have been searching the North Carolina area for a qualified, experienced divorce attorney, look no further than Arnold & Smith, PLLC. We have considerable experience with various types of divorces in North Carolina, including collaborative divorces. Whether you are dealing with high-net-worth estates, complex child custody disputes, or any other issue, you can resolve everything in a collaborative divorce and move forward with your life. While a collaborative divorce has considerable advantages, you still need to work with a qualified attorney to make it work. Reach out, book your consultation today, and start the process.