What is the Collaborative Process in a Divorce?

When most people think of divorces, they think of messy, time-consuming, and expensive trials. It is true that spouses are often pitted against each other in the courtroom when ending their marriages – but this is not the only way you can pursue a divorce. Spouses in North Carolina also have the option to choose a collaborative divorce. But what exactly is this process, and how does it work? In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of the collaborative process, helping you choose the right option for your unique needs.

Of course, internet research can only get you so far. If you really want to receive targeted, personalized legal advice, you should get in touch with a divorce attorney in North Carolina. Ideally, you should connect with a lawyer who has plenty of experience with collaborative law, as our legal professionals can educate you about how this process works. We can also help you actually proceed with a collaborative divorce if you decide that this is something you would like to pursue. It is best to get in touch with a collaborative divorce attorney as soon as possible. The sooner you act, the sooner you can end your marriage and continue with your life.

How Does the Collaborative Process Begin?

The first part of the collaborative process begins when both spouses and their respective attorneys meet together to discuss their objectives. Both spouses agree to pursue the collaborative process and try their best to avoid a trial. The attorneys also commit to this process. To make this agreement more reliable, both spouses actually sign an agreement promising that they will collaborate and work together to resolve their separation without going to court.

What is the Objective of a Collaborative Divorce?

The main objective of a collaborative divorce is to create something called a separation agreement. This legal document will outline how the divorce should be handled. It will contain conditions that relate to child support, child custody, alimony, and property division. This is probably the most important part of the collaborative process because it is the “finished product” that results from the negotiation process. It is also important because it allows spouses to avoid a trial.

After the separation agreement has been drafted, the attorneys simply show it to a judge during a hearing, and the judge signs off on it. As long as the agreement is valid, the judge will approve everything you and your spouse have agreed upon. This means that you can bypass the trial system altogether – saving you time, money, and stress.

How Do Spouses Agree on Important Issues?

Even the most amicable spouses may not agree on every little detail of their divorce. So how are these disputes handled in a collaborative divorce? Well, collaborative divorce lawyers are specially trained to resolve these disputes through a number of effective strategies. They often encourage spouses to talk about their feelings and needs rather than their specific desires. For example, instead of simply saying “I want the house,” a spouse might instead be encouraged to say something like “I need a place to live after the marriage.” When things are phrased in this manner, compromises can be achieved. For example, the spouse may receive enough money to purchase another home, and this money can come from the liquidation of some other asset.

In addition, the structure of the collaborative divorce itself is designed to promote compromise. There is much more flexibility compared to a typical trial. In fact, you can do things with a collaborative divorce that would not normally be permitted in a litigated divorce. For example, both spouses can agree to continue the payment of child support to ensure that college tuition is paid. This normally would not be possible with a typical litigated divorce because child support stops at the age of 18 under North Carolina law. You can also explore various options for dividing property instead of simply allowing a judge to make the final decision. After all, you know what is best for your family.

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you have been searching the North Carolina area for a qualified attorney who can help you with your collaborative divorce, look no further than Arnold & Smith, PLLC. Over the years, we have helped numerous spouses pursue collaborative divorces and resolve their marriages. This process comes with many benefits, and you really need to book a consultation in order to explore all of them in depth. Reach out today, and we will assess your unique situation before recommending the best course of action.