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Why Choose Collaborative Divorce in North Carolina

If you are in University City, North Carolina and are facing a legal separation or divorce from your spouse, know that you have choices. Reaching the decision to legally separate and eventually divorce, whether it was your idea or not, was likely a difficult process that required long, hard thought. While this big life choice has already been made, there are many more issues that you and your spouse need to address before finalizing your University City legal separation and divorce. One incredibly important issue that must be made rather soon is how to terminate your legal matrimony. In short, you need to choose the method you want to use to end your marriage.

Options Available in North Carolina

There are several options available to you in University City under North Carolina law. These choices include collaborative divorce, divorce mediation, and traditional divorce litigation. The type of method and approach you choose will likely be based upon the specific facts of your marriage, your individual and joint preferences, and any particular or unique elements of your marital dispute. While each University City marital dispute is as different as the spouses involved, more and more couples in North Carolina and across the country are choosing collaborative divorce to resolve their marital disputes.

Collaborative divorces in University City are governed by Chapter 50 of North Carolina’s General Statutes. This state law provides an alternative for couples who do not want to go through traditional divorce litigation through the state’s court system. The concept behind collaborative divorce is that a couple can work together and come to a mutually agreed-upon decision regarding all the legal elements of their split. Although a North Carolina court does not get involved in distribution of marital property, the court does have to approve the divorce settlement for it to be finalized.

Using the Collaborative Divorce Method

A University City couple can seek out the collaborative divorce in North Carolina when the pair is facing divorce, or even if they are simply thinking about legally separating or eventually divorcing. This is because even if the legal separation or divorce process has not started, the University City couple may want to try to understand the legal consequences of the divorce. Sometimes a couple may want to know this before pursuing official divorce proceedings in North Carolina. In a University City collaborative divorce, state law requires that each spouse has an individual attorney representing him or her. This collaborative divorce attorney then uses mediation and settlement techniques to help the couple reach an agreement they both can live with for years to come. Unlike traditional divorce litigation, the role of a University City collaborative attorney is not one of a litigator in an adversarial process, but rather more like a mediator who is trying to facilitate an agreement between the parties.

North Carolina law requires that the couple and their respective attorneys enter into a “collaborative law pledge” or “participation agreement” before engaging in the collaborative divorce method. In order to be valid in North Carolina, or the pledge or agreement must:

  • Be put into writing;
  • Be signed by each spouse, the attorneys representing them, and any non-legal professional consultants assisting in the collaborative process;
  • Include terms that stipulate the withdrawal of legal counsel if the collaboration does not result in a final settlement;
  • Require the couple to agree to freely share all financial and other information with the other side;
  • Mandate the parties participating in the collaborative process do so in good faith;
  • Have the parties agree to the possibility of jointly hiring non-legal professional consultants to help in the settlement process;
  • Have the couple agree to insulate any children from the divorce process; and
  • Stipulate that written notice to their respective attorneys is required if any party wants to stop the collaboration.

There are several benefits that come from using the collaborative divorce method in University City, North Carolina. A couple may choose collaborative divorce for their marital dispute over other available methods for the following reasons:

  • The typically high level of stress associated with a traditional divorce proceeding is reduced significantly in non-adversarial collaborative divorce;
  • Costs and expenses incurred by the couple can be vastly reduced when coming to an agreed-upon divorce settlement outside of North Carolina’s court system - although professional attorneys are still used in the process;
  • The couple is given the ability to have a better understanding of the terms of their divorce settlement, particularly because the collaborative divorce process allows the pair to talk through each term as a group and come to a final agreement.
Divorce in North Carolina

If you and your spouse are facing or thinking about separating and eventually divorcing in University City or anywhere else in the state of North Carolina, contact the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC. The method that you finally choose - whether divorce mediation, collaborative divorce, or traditional divorce litigation - can vastly affect your experience and the final result.