What Evidence Do I Need for a Collaborative Divorce?
Evidence is an important aspect of almost every legal process, including divorce. In a typical trial-based divorce, both spouses might present all kinds of different evidence to support their various claims. Their attorneys might spend months researching and investigating, searching for that vital document or photograph that will give them the upper hand in the trial. But what about a collaborative divorce? In this process, spouses avoid going to trial and handle most of their disputes behind closed doors. During this negotiation process, the attorney of each spouse attempts to resolve disputes by coming to mutually beneficial agreements. But does that mean that evidence is not necessary? And if you do need evidence for your collaborative divorce, what kind of evidence should you be looking for?
These questions are probably best left answered by a qualified divorce attorney in North Carolina. Book a consultation with an attorney who specifically has experience with collaborative law, as we will know exactly how you should approach this process. With help from our experienced lawyers, you can gather all the evidence you need, negotiate effectively, and create a separation agreement with which both spouses can be satisfied.An Informal Discovery Process
The first thing you need to know about evidence in a collaborative divorce is that it involves an informal discovery process. In a normal, litigated divorce, discovery is a formal pre-trial stage. This is when both spouses must exchange as much information as possible. This is to give each spouse enough time to figure out what they need to do based on this information and prepare for any arguments and claims that the other spouse might make. This information usually takes the form of documents, such as income statements, tax reports, mortgage statements, and other financial documents.
So how is an informal discovery process different? Because this process is informal, neither spouse is obligated to share any information if they do not want to. This sharing of information is completely voluntary. So while you may request certain information from your spouse, they are under no obligation to provide it. Because of this, you technically do not need to provide any evidence whatsoever during a collaborative divorce.The Collaborative Divorce Process is Built on Trust
Of course, your collaborative divorce will not get very far if you take this kind of stance. Remember, this entire process is built on trust, which means that both spouses have to be willing to “play ball” to a certain extent. If one spouse stubbornly refuses to provide certain information, it’s a sure sign that the negotiations will not get very far. So, while you are not obligated to provide certain documents upon request, it is probably in your best interests to do so whenever possible. Otherwise, the negotiation process might fall apart. If this happens, you are back to square one, and you will likely need to go through a litigated divorce trial.Evidence Shown in a Collaborative Divorce is Confidential
It is also important to remember that although the discovery process is informal in a collaborative divorce, it is still confidential. In fact, evidence exchanged during a collaborative divorce is much more confidential compared to evidence in a litigated divorce trial. This is because what happens behind closed doors between spouses and their attorneys never goes on public record, while the same cannot be said for litigated divorces.
This is great news for spouses who might be dealing with embarrassing evidence, such as anything involving infidelity. Even a relatively innocuous piece of evidence, such as an income statement, can be worth keeping out of the public eye, especially if you are a high-profile public figure in your community.Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today
If you have been searching the North Carolina area for a qualified divorce attorney who has experience with collaborative law, look no further than Arnold & Smith, PLLC. Over the years, we have helped numerous spouses deal with their divorces in a civilized, humane manner. If you would like to explore the benefits of collaborative divorce in greater detail, feel free to book a consultation with us at your earliest convenience. As you will see, this approach has plenty of notable benefits compared to a litigated divorce. Although a collaborative divorce is more convenient in many ways, there is still plenty of work to be done. Gathering evidence is always an important step, and we can make sure you are heading into this process feeling confident and prepared. Book your consultation today.